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The divorce laws in Mississippi are unique for the people who wish to terminate their marriage.
We are providing this overview of important divorce laws in Mississippi as an easy reference guide to help you complete your Mississippi divorce paperwork.
Residency Requirements: In order to file for a divorce in Mississippi, you or your spouse must meet the strict residency requirements. These requirements permit the court to have jurisdiction of your case, resulting in allowing you to use their judicial system. These requirements are only a concern for spouses who have recently relocated or plan to relocate in the near future. They are as follows:
A spouse must be a resident of the state of Mississippi for a least 6 months prior to filing. If a member of the armed forces is stationed in Mississippi, he or she and his or her spouse is considered a resident. The divorce should be filed in the county in which either spouse resides if they are both residents and if the plaintiff is the only resident then in the county in which he or his resides. (Mississippi Code - Section 93 - Chapters: 5-5, 5-11)
No-Fault Grounds: Most uncontested divorce cases are filed according to a "no-fault" ground. We are using the term "no-fault" in a generic fashion by labeling all grounds that do not actually declare a "fault" as "no-fault". In the state of Mississippi the "no-fault" grounds are as follows:
A divorce will be granted by the court for the following grounds:
Filing Party Name: The Complainant. This is the spouse who is recognized as the initiator of the divorce and is the one who actually files the Bill of Complaint with the county court.
Non-Filing Party Name: The Defendant. This spouse plays a lesser role in an uncontested divorce versus a contested divorce. He or she will be required to sign and/or respond in a timely fashion to the documents filed by his or her spouse.
Family Law or Domestic Relations Court: Chancery Court of __________ County, State of Mississippi. All divorce cases in the state of Mississippi are facilitated through this court for that particular county.
Clerk's Name: All correspondence with a Mississippi clerk of the court should formally address him or her as follows: Office of the Clerk of the County Chancery Court.
Property and Debt Division: Mississippi is considered an "equitable distribution" state. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on how the marital property will be divided, the court shall use a three step process. First, it will determine what property is marital. Second, it will put a value on the marital property. Third, it will divide the marital property in an equitable fashion, which is not necessarily equal, but rather what is considered to be fair.
Changing Name: When filing for a divorce, each spouse has the right to petition the court for a name change.
Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony: Determining the amount of spousal support, if any, is not as objective as determining child support. Spousal support, whether permanent or temporary, is typically decided on a case-by-case basis, because it is very likely that unique circumstances and factors regarding the marriage and the property award will play a significant role in allowing the court to arrive at the appropriate amount.
If the spouses can not agree on the issue of maintenance, the court make an award that it believes to be fair. The court will consider the following factors, but not limited to; income and expenses of each spouse; the spouse's health and medical condition; the spouse's needs and debt obligations; the custodial arrangement; the ages of the spouse's; the standard of living during the marriage; tax ramifications; marital fault or misconduct; and dissipation of assets. (Mississippi Code - Section 93 - Chapters: 5-23)
Custody and Visitation: Shared or joint child custody has become more and more popular with the Mississippi courts. If you and your spouse request to have joint or shared "legal" custody, it will almost always be granted. As for joint or shared "physical" custody, the court will examine this a bit more closely to determine if it is a realistic choice that would result in an arrangement that is best for the children.
When the parents are not in agreement regarding the custodial arrangement, the court will award custody with the best interest of the children in mind. The court will award sole or joint custody at any time it deems appropriate. If the parents are filing under grounds of irreconcilable differences, they may both a agree to joint custody and the court will except that this is what is best for the children. If the divorce is filed on fault grounds, either parent has the right to petition for joint custody. The court will consider the wishes of a child if he or she is 12 years or older. Any accusation of abuse will be investigated by the court. (Mississippi Code - Section 93 - Chapters: 5-23, 5-24, 11-65)
Determining Child Support: The basis for determining a monthly support amount is best achieved by referring to the Mississippi child support worksheet. The worksheet utilizes the child support guidelines that are defined by state law. The court will use this same worksheet as a building block for determining the support obligation, that is if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on this issue.
If the parents are not able to agree on an sufficient support amount to be paid to support the children, the court will examine the income and expenses of each spouse and establish a child support award that it believes is equitable. The court may also require a spouse to obtain or maintain health insurance for the children. All support obligations are established on a case-by-case basis, so many factors may be considered by the court for each unique situation. (Mississippi Code - Section 93 - Chapters: 5-23, 11-65)
Copyright Notice: These Mississippi divorce laws above are copyrighted by 3 Step Solutions, LLC. This abbreviated and revised version of the state laws has been compiled from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction in any fashion is prohibited. Violation of this copyright notice may result in immediate legal action.