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Divorce in Mississippi

Divorce in Mississippi



In the last decade, Mississippi’s divorce laws and regulations have witnessed significant changes aimed at modernizing family law, promoting fairness, and prioritizing the well-being of individuals navigating divorce proceedings. From property division to child custody, these updates underscore Mississippi’s commitment to addressing evolving family dynamics. This article offers an overview of key amendments in Mississippi’s divorce laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, grouped by the year of implementation.

2013: No-Fault Divorce Simplification

   – Simplification of the process for obtaining a no-fault divorce, reducing procedural complexities.

2014: Property Division Guidelines

   – Introduction of guidelines for equitable distribution of marital property, ensuring a fair allocation of assets.

2015: Child Custody Emphasis

   – Focus on the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements.

2016: Spousal Support Factors

   – Introduction of factors considered when awarding spousal support, including financial circumstances.

2017: Digital Documentation Adoption

   – Adoption of digital documentation and electronic filing options to enhance efficiency.

2018: Comprehensive Parenting Plans

   – Emphasis on comprehensive parenting plans outlining custody, visitation, and child support arrangements.

2019: Child Support Review

   – Periodic review and potential adjustment of child support guidelines to reflect economic changes.

2020: Collaborative Divorce Promotion

   – Promotion of collaborative divorce as an alternative dispute resolution method, reducing adversarial processes.

2021: Domestic Violence Protections

   – Strengthening protections for victims of domestic violence during divorce proceedings.

2022: High-Asset Divorce Guidelines

   – Exploration of specialized guidelines for divorces involving complex financial portfolios.

2023: Online Divorce Filing

   – Introduction of online divorce filing options to enhance accessibility and convenience.

Mississippi’s commitment to updating its divorce laws reflects its dedication to providing a supportive legal environment for families in transition. By adapting to changing family dynamics and safeguarding the interests of all parties involved, Mississippi continues to ensure justice and fairness in its legal processes.

Residency and Filing Needs

There are some aspects of divorce in Mississippi that you need to know about before proceeding with anything. First off, if one spouse intends to file, that spouse will then be called the ‘Complainant.’ The other spouse will be called the ‘Defendant’ in the matter.

Once divorce is eminent, there’s one requirement in the state of Mississippi that needs to be met before filing.

• The Complainant must be a Mississippi resident for six months or more preceding that of the day of filing the petition for divorce. If either party resides in Mississippi, proceedings can occur in either county; if the Complainant is the only Mississippi resident, proceedings will be conducted in the Complainant’s county.

Reasons for Divorce in Mississippi

There are many reasons for it, but for the most part the court separates all reasons into two categories:

• No-Fault Divorce

• Fault Divorce

“No-Fault” basically can mean one thing –

1) There Must be Irreconcilable Differences Between Both Parties

“Fault” divorce in Mississippi, however, is an entirely different situation.

Grounds for that divorce can include one or more of these as determined by a court of law:

• Impotence

• Adultery

• Incarceration

• Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse

• Mental Insanity for at Least Three Years

• Pregnancy Caused by Someone Other Than Husband Without His Knowledge

• Willful Desertion for Up to a Year or More

• Intolerable Cruelty

• Incest

• Mentally Unable to Consent to Divorce

Both “No-Fault” and “Fault” divorce have separate stipulations that can affect child custody and spousal support.

The Definition of “Legal Separation” Versus “Divorce”

Of course, both parties to a marriage may elect to “legally separate” instead of proceed through a divorce. What’s the difference?

A legal separation is essentially both parties agreeing to go their separate ways without dissolving the marriage. There are many reasons for doing this, one being the need to retain certain benefits within the marriage agreement that would otherwise be discontinued upon a divorce. For instance: medical insurance.

Typically, though, a legal separation does lead to a divorce agreement, in which case all grounds for divorce move forward, as well as the marriage then becomes dissolved in a court of law along with any other benefits and assets, questions of child custody, parenting time, and support (if children are in fact present).

The Primary Documents For a Divorce in Mississippi

Ten or twenty documents may be included in the proceeding, not limited to these:

• Verification

• Marital Settlement Agreement

• Affidavit Regarding the Children

• Request for Hearing

• Notice of Hearing

• Bill of Complaint for Divorce

• Decree of Divorce

Divorce in Mississippi : Property Distribution

When it comes to divorce in Mississippi, it’s important to know that the state favors “Title Property” standards. This simply means that the distribution of assets is solely based on the titling of each piece of property. For instance: if one party has the house in his or her name, the house then belongs to that party after the proceeding with no exception.

In addition, the court may also award the wife her former or maiden name upon agreement of the divorce.

Divorce in Mississippi : On the Subject of Spousal Support

This issue may only be relevant if the court or both parties see a need for either party to support the other financially for any reason either on a temporary or permanent basis.

Divorce in Mississippi : Dealing With Child Custody

Generally speaking, parents can come to an agreement on this matter regarding divorce in Mississippi in several ways:

• Joint Physical Custody

• Sole Physical Custody

• Joint Legal Custody

• Sole Physical Custod

“Joint Physical Custody” is essentially sharing custody of the child(ren) in terms of where the child(ren) may live: either in mother’s residence, or father’s residence. Child(ren) retains two addresses. Both parties are equally responsible for the well-being of the child(ren) as well as for the education of the child(ren).

“Sole Physical Custody” is when one party retains physical custody of child(ren) and the other party retains “Visitation Rights.”

“Joint Legal Custody” is when both parents share the right to make important decisions in the life/lives of the child(ren), which may include legal name, lifestyle, needs, etc. etc.

“Sole Legal Custody” is when only one parent retains the right to make important decisions in the life/lives of the child(ren).

Divorce in Mississippi : How to Determine Child Support If Necessary

Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support. The Percentage of Income Formula is employed to determine the amount. By combining W2’s and other worksheets, an amount is determined that would best suit the needs of the child(ren) without unfavorable financial problems on the non-custodial party.

Generally speaking, both parties may agree to an amount. But in the event that a Complainant and Defendant don’t, the court may utilize state support guidelines to arrive to a decision as to how much support is necessary for the child(ren).