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Sheridan v. Cassidy

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 11, 2018

FARRA L. (CASSIDY) SHERIDAN APPELLANT
v.
JAMES P. CASSIDY JR. APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/01/2017

          LAFAYETTE COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, HON. GLENN ALDERSON JUDGE.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: RICHARD SHANE MCLAUGHLIN NICOLE H. MCLAUGHLIN.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: MARY MORGAN WHITFIELD CHARLES J. SWAYZE JR.

         EN BANC.

          LEE, C.J.

         ¶1. In this appeal, we must determine whether the chancellor abused his discretion in modifying custody of the parties' minor children. Finding no error, we affirm.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On May 18, 2016, James Cassidy was granted a divorce from his wife, Farra (Cassidy) Sheridan on the ground of Farra's adultery. Pursuant to a child custody, support, and property-settlement agreement (PSA), Farra took physical custody of the couple's four minor children, [1] and James agreed to pay rehabilitative alimony and child support.

         ¶3. On July 19, 2016, Farra petitioned the Lafayette County Chancery Court for permission to move the children to Benton, Arkansas. James countered, requesting that he be granted custody of the children. After a hearing, the chancellor granted James's motion for custody modification and ordered Farra to pay child support. Farra now appeals, asserting the following issues: (1) there was no evidence of a material change in circumstances resulting in an adverse effect on the children; (2) the chancellor misapplied several of the Albright[2] factors; (3) the chancellor erred by not allowing their twelve-year-old son to state a preference; and (4) the chancellor erred by refusing to allow two of the children to testify.

         FACTS

         ¶4. After the parties' divorce, Farra began a relationship with Eric Sheridan. At the time, Sheridan was married and living in Arkansas. Sheridan testified that his wife left him after seeing text messages between him and Farra. Farra and the children drove to Arkansas frequently to visit her family and Sheridan. Because she and the children visited Arkansas on the weekends, the children were sometimes checked out early from school on Fridays and were sometimes late arriving to school on Mondays, resulting in unexcused absences.

         ¶5. Sheridan and his wife divorced on January 10, 2017, and Farra and Sheridan married on February 3, 2017. Farra admitted that prior to her marriage to Sheridan, she spent multiple nights with Sheridan while the children were present. A clause in the PSA prohibited either party from exposing the children to overnight visits from adult members of the opposite sex. Farra had been prescribed three medications that she took regularly-two antidepressants and one muscle relaxer. She testified that she was also prescribed Trazodone during the summer of 2016 to help her sleep. Farra further admitted to drinking between two to four beers per day and conceded that she should not be drinking alcohol while taking these medications.

         ¶6. Natalie Byas, an employee at the local country club, testified that she observed Farra and the children's behavior at the club. Byas stated that Farra drank excessively and appeared intoxicated at least six or seven times. Byas further stated that the children were left unsupervised, which led to destructive behavior. As a result, Byas was tasked with monitoring the children's behavior and cleaning up after them. Byas testified that the club considered barring the children.

         ¶7. James testified that his relationship with the children had changed since the divorce. James said the children no longer told him that they loved him. James further stated that Farra had interfered with his visitation and had refused to discuss matters involving the children, such as extracurricular activities, medical appointments, and health insurance.

         ¶8. Additional facts, as necessary, are related during our discussion of the issues.

         STANDARD ...


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