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Harrington v. Harrington

Supreme Court of Mississippi
648 So.2d 543 (1994)


Facts

A judgment of divorce between Mark and Donnett Harrington in Mississippi granted custody of the Harringtons’ two daughters to Donnett and awarded overnight-visitation rights to Mark on the first and third weekends of each month. One year later, Donnett filed a motion to modify the judgment, alleging a material change in circumstances that adversely affected the daughters. Specifically, Donnett claimed that Mark was living with his girlfriend, Stephanie Milam, outside of marriage. At a hearing, Donnett testified that one of the daughters had come home upset from a weekend at Mark’s residence and stated that Stephanie had yelled and cursed at them. Mark denied the claim and argued that Stephanie’s presence in his home did not confuse or upset his daughters. Mark did admit, however, that his daughters had asked him when he would marry Stephanie. The trial court held that, although Mark professed to be teaching his children Christian principles, Mark’s conduct was inconsistent with that claim due to the fact that he was living with a woman outside of marriage. The trial judge held that Mark could no longer have overnight visitation with the children and ordered that at no time could the daughters be in the presence of Stephanie or engaged in a discussion about Stephanie. Mark appealed, arguing that the trial court’s order was unreasonable.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Sullivan, J.)

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Concurrence/Dissent (Lee, J.)

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