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Johnson v. Johnson

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 13, 2019

TERRY JOHNSON APPELLANT
v.
TERESA JENKINS JOHNSON APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/25/2018

          CHICKASAW COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. KENNETH M. BURNS JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: GENE BARTON

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: TERESA JENKINS JOHNSON (PRO SE)

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

          GREENLEE, J.

         ¶1. Terry Johnson appeals from a final judgment of the Chancery Court of the Second Judicial District of Chickasaw County, in which he was granted a divorce from Teresa Jenkins Johnson. Terry claims the chancellor erred by (1) failing to consider Teresa's extramarital affairs when dividing the marital property, and (2) admitting Teresa's counseling records into evidence. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Terry and Teresa were married in March 1998. In November 2017, Teresa filed a complaint for divorce alleging habitual cruel and inhuman treatment or, in the alternative, irreconcilable differences. Terry filed a counter-complaint, which made the same allegations against Teresa and was later amended to include adultery.

         ¶3. During their marriage, Terry and Teresa lived in a house that Teresa's mother previously owned and located on three acres of land. In 2003, the house was deeded to Teresa and placed in her name. But in 2008, during foreclosure proceedings, Terry purchased the house for $13, 000. At trial, Terry and Teresa agreed that the value of the house was approximately $50, 000. Both Terry and Teresa were employed. Teresa testified that she did not have a retirement account. However, Terry's retirement account was valued at approximately $42, 000. Terry reported an additional $3, 500 on his tax return as a pension; however, he could not explain where it came from.

         ¶4. Terry accused Teresa of misspending money and having extramarital affairs throughout their marriage. Teresa admitted that, without Terry's permission, she had applied for and was issued three credit cards in Terry's name. However, according to Teresa, Terry told the credit card companies that he did not know who applied for the credit cards. And Teresa did not believe that Terry paid for any of the charges.

         ¶5. Teresa also admitted to having extramarital affairs with two men from 2003 until 2011 and 2014 until 2017. However, Teresa suspected that Terry had an affair as well. Teresa testified that they were both physically abusive. But she claimed that Terry was also verbally and emotionally abusive and that the abuse escalated over the years. Teresa testified that Terry called her names, including "burnt up b[****]."[1] And at one point Terry threatened to kill her.

         ¶6. In 2012, Teresa went to the S.A.F.E. House in Tupelo, Mississippi. The S.A.F.E. House provided counseling to Teresa from October 29, 2012 until June 6, 2016. At the time of trial, Teresa was receiving counseling from the West Main Psychiatric and Counseling Clinic. Teresa testified that she discussed the affairs and the abuse with the counselors. The chancery court admitted Teresa's counseling records into evidence over Terry's objection. Teresa testified that she had been taking anxiety and depression medication regularly for at least one year.

         ¶7. In May 2018, the chancery court entered its final judgment awarding Terry a divorce based on adultery. Teresa was awarded the marital property, which included the house valued at $50, 000 and the three acres valued at $6, 000. She was also awarded the following separate property: a 1988 Chevrolet Cavalier valued at $300; a 2004 Oldsmobile Alero valued at $500; and a 2014 Chevrolet Malibu valued at $4, 000. Terry was awarded the following separate property: a 1989 GMC truck valued at $1, 500; a 1995 Oldsmobile Sierra valued at $500; a 2002 GMC Sierra valued at $4, 500; a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado valued at $5, 000; a 2010 Nissan Altima valued at $5, 000; a Chevrolet Cavalier valued at $500; an Oldsmobile Sierra valued at $500; and his retirement account valued at approximately $42, 000.

         ¶8. Terry filed several post-trial motions claiming, among other things, that the chancellor did not consider Teresa's extramarital affairs when dividing the marital property and erred in accepting Teresa's medical records when a doctor did not testify at trial. After the denial of his post-trial motions, Terry appealed.

         STANDARD ...


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