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Jenkins v. Jenkins - 55 SO. 3D 1094 (MISS. APP. 2010)

Rule:

There can be but one divorce granted. In a situation where both parties are at fault, if a divorce is to be granted, the chancellor must determine which party's conduct was the proximate cause of the deterioration of the marital relationship and the divorce itself.

Facts:

The wife sought a divorce from the husband on the ground of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. The husband asserted a recrimination defense, which was based on the wife's alleged adultery. The trial court found  that the husband's cruelty, not the wife's adultery, caused the separation. It granted the divorce to the wife and awarded her custody of the children.  The husband appealed the decision. 

Issue:

Did the trial court err in finding for the wife?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The Court affirmed the trial court's judgment. Under Miss. Code Ann. § 93-5-3, one party's adultery, even if established at trial, did not prevent the chancellor from granting a divorce to that party. Though the husband resolutely asserted the wife engaged in adultery before the parties separated, he failed to point out specific evidence to support his claim. The evidence was scant that the wife engaged in any adulterous conduct prior to the separation or that her adulterous conduct proximately caused the parties' separation. Thus, the chancellor did not manifestly err in rejecting the husband's recrimination defense.

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