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Martin v. Martin

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 6, 2019

SHANN M. MARTIN APPELLANT
v.
JAMES MITCHELL MARTIN JR. APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/02/2018

          WARREN COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, HON. JANE R. WEATHERSBY JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DAVID M. SESSUMS.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: BRANAN PATRICK SOUTHERLAND.

          BEFORE CARLTON, P.J., GREENLEE AND McCARTY, JJ.

          McCARTY, J.

         ¶1. The Chancery Court of Warren County granted Shann Martin and James "Mitch" Martin a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences. The divorce decree awarded Mitch physical custody of the couple's son and three parcels of real property. Shann appeals, challenging the chancery court's custody determination and distribution of the marital assets.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Shann and Mitch were married twice, most recently in 2013. Their union produced one child, a son. The couple again separated in 2017. During their marriage, Mitch's parents gifted the couple three different parcels of property totaling thirty-five acres. Both Shann's and Mitch's names were on the deeds. One parcel was where the couple intended to build their family home. The land was cleared, but the home was never built. Another parcel was exchanged for Shann's mobile home. Upon the death of Mitch's father, his mother did not want to live in the house she shared with her husband, and the parties traded Shann's mobile home for her house. That parcel contained Mitch's childhood home, which Shann and Mitch used as their marital home. The couple used their joint tax returns to make repairs and improvements on the property.

         ¶3. When distributing the marital assets, the chancery court awarded Mitch the thirty-five acres, including the marital home. The chancery court awarded Shann $20, 000 in compensation for improvements on the marital home. In exchange, Shann was to deed her undivided one-half interest in the thirty-five acres to Mitch. The chancery court found that each party had enough money to meet his or her needs and that the property division eliminated the necessity of alimony.

         ¶4. During the custody proceedings the chancery court conducted a best-interest analysis under Albright v. Albright, 437 So.2d 1003 (Miss. 1983). The factors were found to equally favor both parents except for two: the morality of the parents and preference of the child, both of which favored Mitch. The chancery court awarded physical custody of the couple's son to Mitch and ordered that Shann pay $382 a month in child support.

         ¶5. Shann's appeal requests a different division of the property and a change in the custody determination.

         DISCUSSION

         I.The division of the assets was ...


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