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Blevins v. Bardwell

Supreme Court of Mississippi
784 So. 2d 166 (Miss. 2001)


Facts

Adam Blevins (defendant) and Dawn Bardwell (plaintiff) met in the United States Air Force (Air Force) and had a child named Darby. Adam and Dawn were not married. Dawn left the Air Force while she was pregnant, but reenlisted after Darby was born. Because the Air Force prohibited single custodial parents from enlisting, Adam and Dawn agreed to a temporary court order granting Adam custody of Darby. Adam and Dawn’s relationship subsequently deteriorated. Dawn filed a petition for custody of Darby in the Chancery Court of the Second Judicial District of Harrison County. Adam had moved to Kentucky to care for his father, who was suffering from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and cancer. At trial, Adam presented evidence that Dawn was evaluated by a psychiatrist and found to have an adjustment disorder with depressed mood and a provisional schizoid personality disorder. Dawn presented evidence that Adam smoked cigarettes and that Adam’s father smoked three or four packs of cigarettes per day. The chancery court awarded Adam and Dawn joint legal custody of Darby and awarded Dawn primary physical custody. In doing so, the chancery court addressed Dawn’s mental health, but ruled that all best-interests-of-the-child factors that favored one parent over the other, including the health of the parents and the home environments, favored Dawn. Adam appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pittman, C.J.)

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