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Lundy v. Lundy

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

October 22, 2014

MACK LUNDY, APPELLANT
v.
SANDY LUNDY, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 23DR-13-715. HONORABLE H.G. FOSTER, JUDGE.

Sarah M. Pourhosseini, for appellant.

Lucas Law, PLLC, by: Molly Lucas, for appellee.

WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge. WHITEAKER and HIXSON, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 519

WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge.

Mack Lundy brings this appeal from the decree of the Faulkner County Circuit Court granting Sandy Lundy an absolute divorce on the ground of general indignities. Appellant challenges the court's finding that appellee proved her ground for divorce. We reverse and dismiss.

The parties were married on October 30, 2012, and separated in June 2013. Appellee filed a complaint for divorce on June 27, 2013, on the ground of general indignities. She alleged in the complaint that appellant had " offered such indignities to the person of the plaintiff as to render plaintiff's condition in life intolerable." The divorce decree was filed on October 24, 2013. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal on November 22, 2013.

We review domestic-relations cases de novo on the record, but we will not reverse the circuit court's findings unless they are clearly erroneous.[1] A circuit court's finding is clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire record is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.[2] We give due deference to the superior position of the circuit court to view and judge the credibility of the witnesses.[3]

Divorce is a creature of statute and can only be granted upon proof of a

Page 520

statutory ground.[4] Appellee sued appellant for divorce on the ground of general indignities.[5] In order to obtain a divorce on this ground, the plaintiff must show a habitual, continuous, permanent, and plain manifestation of settled hate, alienation, and estrangement on the part of one spouse, sufficient to render the condition of the other intolerable.[6] Such manifestations may consist of rudeness, unmerited reproach, contempt, studied neglect, and open insult.[7] Mere uncongeniality and quarrelsomeness, without more, are not sufficient to sustain a charge of indignities.[8] Additionally, testimony by the plaintiff and corroborating witnesses that is merely general or conclusory in nature is not sufficient.[9] The circuit court's finding of general indignities must be based on factual testimony and proof of specific acts and language showing the rudeness, contempt, and indignities complained of.[10]

It is true that a petition for divorce will not be granted on the testimony of the complainant alone; even if the defendant admits the allegations, the testimony or admission must be corroborated by other evidence to establish the truth of the assertion.[11] The purpose of this rule is to prevent the parties from obtaining a divorce through collusion; therefore, when it is plain that there is no collusion, the corroboration may be slight.[12]

Appellee testified that she wanted a divorce from appellant because he was overbearing, and wanted to discipline her by having a court commit her somewhere. Appellee stated that appellant was angry because she would not allow him to be a part of her counseling sessions to deal with the death of her father. According to appellee, appellant threatened to burn her collection of The Waltons, which she watched for calming reasons. She also stated that appellant thought she was stupid, and that the decorations in the house were stupid. She stated that appellant quoted Bible verses to her and said that she was not a Christian because she sought counseling for her depression. Appellee testified that appellant had made her feel inadequate and belittled for quite a while, especially since the end of March. She recounted that appellant met her in the parking lot after one of her counseling sessions and told her that they needed to talk. According to appellee, appellant wanted to have her committed because he was angry that ...


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