HAROLD E. ARRINGTON APPELLANT
MARGIE N. ARRINGTON APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 05/18/2017
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, HON. JACQUELINE ESTES MASK JUDGE.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: RONALD WARREN SMITH KRISI ALLEN.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: MARGIE N. ARRINGTON (PRO SE).
GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Harold E. Arrington and Margie N. Arrington agreed to an
irreconcilable-differences divorce. Margie's attorney
drafted a joint complaint for divorce and a property
settlement agreement. Without legal counsel, Harold signed
both documents. On February 2, 2012, the joint complaint for
divorce with the property settlement agreement attached were
filed with the chancery clerk.
On May 15, 2012, the chancellor signed a final decree of
divorce. The property settlement agreement was incorporated
by reference in the final decree. For reasons that are not
explained in the record, the final decree was not filed with
the chancery clerk until June 3, 2014.
On August 23, 2013, through an attorney, Harold filed a
withdrawal of consent to the joint claim for divorce. Then,
on April 15, 2014, Harold filed an amended complaint for
divorce on the ground of desertion. Margie answered
Harold's amended complaint and filed a counter-complaint
for divorce. Finally, on March 27, 2015, Harold filed a
motion to set aside the divorce decree.
On May 18, 2017, the chancellor held a hearing
"concerning the divorce of [Harold] and [Margie]."
The chancellor noted that the final decree "was executed
a year before the withdrawal of the consent was
entered." The chancellor then ruled that the final
decree, which was executed on May 15, 2012, would stand and
that all subsequently filed pleadings were dismissed. Harold
now appeals this order.
This Court will not disturb the findings of a chancellor when
supported by substantial evidence unless the chancellor
abused her discretion, was manifestly wrong, clearly
erroneous, or applied an erroneous legal standard.
Sanderson v. Sanderson, 824 So.2d 623, 625-26
(¶8) (Miss. 2002). "A chancellor's conclusions
of law are reviewed de novo." Lowrey v. Lowrey,
25 So.3d 274, 285 (¶26) (Miss. 2009).
In addition, we note that Margie did not file a brief in this
appeal. "Automatic reversal is not required where the
appellee fails to file a brief." Rogillo v.
Rogillo, 101 So.3d 150, 153 (¶12) (Miss. 2012).
"Failure of an appellee to file a brief is tantamount to
confession of error and will be accepted as such unless the
reviewing court can say with confidence, after considering
the record and brief of [the] appealing party, that there was
no error." Dethlefs v. Beau Maison Dev. Corp.,
458 So.2d 714, ...