Mississippi State Divorce Laws and Resources
U.S. Divorce Laws are enacted by each state using their respective legislative process. Once legislation is enacted into law, the divorce courts in Mississippi have the authority to manage the divorce proceedings, including, spousal and child support payments, custodial rights of parents and the division of community property.
Since state laws are repealed and amended frequently, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer before making any important decisions about your marriage. You can also visit the GotTrouble Divorce Resource for a more in-depth understanding of related divorce and family law topics.
As of 2016, all states allow for “no fault” divorce. Yet many courts still factor in the respective parties past behavior when determining the division of community property, debts, custody, support and related issues.
SAME-SEX DIVORCE –UPDATE:
On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the US Constitution in all 50 states. It follows, therefore, that the rights and obligations between same-sex divorcing parties are subject to the same dissolution laws of that state. Reference: US Supreme Court Opinion: Obergefell v. Hodges. (For more information visit ProCon.org).
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:
At least one of the spouses must be a resident of the state for at least six months before a divorce may begin, and the chancery court shall have jurisdiction on suits for divorce. A divorce based on irreconcilable differences may begin in the county where either party resides.
A divorce based on fault grounds must be filed in the county where the plaintiff resides if the defendant resides outside of the state or cannot be located, or it can be filed in the county where the defendant resides if said party is a resident of this state.
LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: NO FAULT
A divorce may be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences if both parties agree. Complaints for divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences must have been on file for sixty (60) days before being heard.
A divorce may also be granted on the following fault grounds:
- Natural impotency.
- Adultery, unless it should appear that it was committed by collusion of the parties for the purpose of procuring a divorce, or unless the parties cohabited after a knowledge by complainant of the adultery.
- Being sentenced to any penitentiary, and not pardoned before being sent there.
- Willful, continued desertion for a period of one year.
- Drug or alcohol addiction..
- Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.
- Insanity at the time of marriage, if the party complaining did not know of such infirmity.
- Pregnancy of the wife by another person at the time of the marriage, if the husband did not know of such pregnancy.
- Kinship to each other within the degrees of kindred between whom marriage is prohibited by law.
- Incurable insanity.
Mississippi is an equitable distribution state, with the added twist that each spouse retains his or her property for which he or she has title, but jointly titled property will be divided equitably by the court. If the property settlement is disputed, the division of property shall be in the discretion of the court.
The court may order the maintenance and alimony of the wife or the husband, or any allowance to be made to her or him, and shall, if need be, require bond, sureties or other guarantee for the payment of the sum so allowed.
SPOUSE’S LEGAL NAME:
There is no laws directly addressing changing a spouse’s name upon divorce, but each spouse has the right to petition the court for a name change.
CHILD CUSTODY – BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD
If the parents can’t come to a mutual agreement concerning custody, the court shall base it’s decision on the best interests of the child. There is no presumption that either parent is better suited for custody based on gender. In making an order for custody to either parent or to both parents jointly, the court may require the parents to submit a plan for the implementation of the custody order.
If custody is disputed, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that it is detrimental to the child, and not in the best interest of the child, to be placed in sole custody, joint legal custody or joint physical custody of a parent who has a history of perpetrating family violence.
The “Income Shares” model is used as a base for determining child support. When proof shows that both parents have separate incomes or estates, the court may require that each parent contribute to the support and maintenance of the children of the marriage in proportion to the relative financial ability of each. The duty of support of a child terminates upon the emancipation of the child.
ENFORCING CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS – FEDERAL OPTION:
FIND LOCAL FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT AGENCY NEAR YOU