Mississippi Divorce Laws – What You Need to Know!
It is common in Mississippi divorces to cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. Many divorcing couples don’t realize that under Mississippi law, there are a dozen legitimate at-fault grounds for divorce in Mississippi. They are as follows:
- One spouse being sentenced to a term in the penitentiary
- Willful desertion for no fewer than 12 months
- Habitual drunkenness
- Excessive use of drugs
- Habitual cruel and inhumane treatment
- Mental retardation or mental illness that was unbeknownst to the spouse when the couple were married
- Pregnancy by the wife when the couple were married by someone other than the husband and of which the husband was unaware when they married
- Being related to one another to a degree that is a violation of state law
- Incurable mental illness
If none of the above grounds are cited for the divorce, a divorce can be granted on grounds of irreconcilable differences if the couple files the petition jointly, or if the defendant is personally served with the petition for divorce or has waived, in writing, service of process.
There are residency requirements in order to file for divorce in Mississippi. At least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for no fewer than six months before filing the divorce action in the chancery courts. When the grounds are irreconcilable differences, it may be filed in the county where either spouse lives. If an at-fault divorce is being filed, it must be filed where the plaintiff lives if the defendant can’t be located or is an out-of-state resident. If the defendant is a Mississippi resident, the at-fault divorce may be filed in the county where they are living.
How Is Marital Property Divided in Mississippi?
Mississippi is a state with equitable property distribution. This means that the marital property is not subject to a 50 percent division, but that the court looks at the financial situation of both parties. It is generally considered to be more flexible with dividing assets, but many factors are involved in the determination. Some pertinent factors include:
- The duration of the marriage
- Both spouses’ emotional and physical health and their ages
- What property or income was brought into the marriage by both parties
- The couple’s standard of living while married
- Any pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements entered into by the couple regarding the division of assets
- Both spouse’s financial situations when the property division is effected
- Both parties’ earning potential and income
- Each spouse’s contribution to acquiring marital propery as well as the contributions of a spouse as the homemaker
- Tax consequences for both parties
- Marital property valuation
- In the case of minor children, the necessity of the custodial parent to stay in the marital domicile with access to the household furnishings
- Debts and liabilities of the marital union and the ability of both parties to pay off those debts
That list is not all-inclusive and may include other factors that the court may deem relevant. Because divorcing one’s spouse can be more complex than it first appears, arranging a consultation with a Mississippi family law attorney is a good idea before either party files for divorce.