CASTING LEGAL PEARLS BEFORE SWINE

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

I came across a gem of an opinion rendered by Chancellor Shannon Clark in those pre-MRCP days when the concept of equitable distribution was unknown in Mississippi divorce law, and chancellors rendered opinions unencumbered by all of the factors that weigh down our opinions nowadays.

Judge Clark had a wry sense of humor, and had a way of provoking a laugh in the court room even in the most serious proceedings.  This is his opinion in the case of Taylor v. Taylor:

IN THE CHANCERY COURT OF WAYNE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI

JOHNNIE PEARL TAYLOR, COMPLAINANT

VS.

CLARENCE TAYLOR, DEFENDANT

Cause No. 14, 672

OPINION OF THE COURT

This case comes on for hearing as the last case on the last day of a rather trying term of court. The parties were married on April 4, 1979, at a time when the defendant was incarcerated in the local Bastille. It is obvious that all marriages are not made in Heaven, and certainly not this one. The testimony is that bliss never reigned supreme in this Palace of Love.

The marriage being of a short duration, the only accumulated assets were ten (10) pigs, three (3) grown hogs, and one three months old hog. Later seven (7) more pigs were born during the marriage of the parties.

The parties separated on or about September 16, 1979, leaving care, custody and control of the pigs with the Complainant. The Defendant made no effort to help with the pigs. No support was paid for the pigs by the Defendant. The Complainant provided care for the pigs both before and after the separation. She was a fit and proper person to have their care, custody and control. It was necessary for the Complainant on occasions to seek charity from neighbors to care for the pigs. Urgent and necessitous circumstances having arisen, the pigs, alas, were sold at a private sale for $175.00 without the taking of bids. an emergency having resulted from the pigs’ run-down condition from lack of financial support, no bids were necessary at this point in time. The Complainant had contacted numerous people, including the High Sheriff of Wayne County, in an effort to locate the Defendant, but to no avail. No order relating to the care, custody and control, or for the support of the pigs was obtained. The defendant requested neither custody nor reasonable visitation rights. The pigs being of tender age, it would have been inappropriate to separate them from their mother. No sow support having been paid by the Defendant, he cannot now complain of the Complainant’s sale of the pigs to provide for the pigs’ welfare and support. Having failed in his duty to support, he cannot now be heard to complain of the results of his failure to bring home the bacon.

A divorce is hereby granted to the Complainant on the grounds of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. It is, likewise, the order of this Court that the Complainant is entitled to attorney’s fees in the amount of $200. All other relief sought by either party is denied.

The Defendant, having lost his swine as a result of this ill-fated marriage, can consider himself lucky that he did not have a donkey.

Court is now adjourned until court in course.

FILED November 29, 1979.

Thanks to attorney Henry Palmer.

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