ELEANOR E. ELLISON APPELLANT
STEPHEN D. WILLIAMS APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 12/28/2017
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT TRIAL HON. C. MICHAEL MALSKI, JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JOE M. DAVIS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: RICHARD SHANE McLAUGHLIN
J. WILSON, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND McDONALD, JJ.
Eleanor Ellison appeals the Union County Chancery Court's
division of her and Stephen Williams's marital estate.
Ellison and Williams separated in August 2016 when Williams
moved out of the marital home. Ellison and Williams resided
in two homes during their marriage and owned both at the time
of their separation. The Union County Chancery Court found
that both homes were marital property and divided their
remaining assets. The chancellor awarded Ellison sixty
percent of the marital estate and awarded Williams the
remaining forty percent. Ellison timely appeals.
Ellison and Williams married on April 23, 2007, and resided
in a home deeded to Ellison by her parents (Ingomar
Property). Her parents had fully paid for the home, and they
deeded it to Ellison in her name only. The couple resided in
the home for almost eight years before they decided to
purchase another home in a different school district so that
Ellison's grandson could attend school there (Highway 348
Together Ellison and Williams took out an equity loan on the
Ingomar Property to purchase the Highway 348 Property and an
additional loan to cover the amount that the equity loan did
not. They resided at the Highway 348 Property and rented the
Ingomar Property from January 2015 until their separation in
September 2016. While residing in the home, Williams took on
many repair projects, such as painting rooms, putting down
hardwood floors, installing a hot tub, and laying a brick
paver around the home.
After Williams left the marital home, Ellison was solely
responsible for the finances of both the Ingomar Property and
the Highway 348 Property with the exception of two months.
She continued to rent out the Ingomar Property, which covered
its mortgage, and began receiving $500 a week from her son to
help with the Highway 348 Property mortgage and her living
expenses because she was not working. Ellison testified that
since the separation, her son had loaned her approximately
Shortly after Williams's departure, he began an
extramarital relationship. In January 2017, Ellison filed a
complaint for divorce and cited Williams's adultery.
After a hearing in November 2017, the chancellor granted the
divorce and awarded Ellison sixty percent of the marital
estate and Williams forty percent. The chancellor also found
that the $35, 000 loan from Ellison's son was not marital
debt, and the chancellor did not award either party
attorney's fees. In 2018, Ellison filed a motion to
reconsider, which was denied by the chancery court.
Aggrieved, Ellison appealed. After review of the record, we
affirm the chancellor's judgment in part and reverse and
remand in part for further proceedings.
"It is well settled that this Court applies a limited
standard of review on appeals from chancery court."
Rodgers v. Moore, 101 So.3d 189, 193 (¶8)
(Miss. Ct. App. 2012) (internal quotation mark omitted).
"The chancery court's factual findings will not be
disturbed if they are supported by substantial evidence
unless we can say with reasonable certainty that the
chancellor abused his discretion, was manifestly wrong or
clearly erroneous, or applied an erroneous legal
standard." Id. "Questions of law receive a
de novo review." Id.
Ellison raises three issues on appeal. Ellison asserts the
chancellor erred (1) by misapplying the Ferguson
factors, (2) by not finding the loan from her son was marital