Mississippi Divorce Law Details
When a couple exchanges marriage vows they are looking ahead to a hopeful future. No one really thinks that an “I do” should lead to an “I can’t.” The sad truth is that the current divorce rate in America hovers at around 50% which means half of all marriages are headed for divorce court.
There was a time when divorce laws were extremely restrictive but now every state has enacted their own set of rules that pertain to the dissolution of a marriage. In other words, it’s easy to get a divorce anywhere.
Mississippi Divorce Law Procedures
Mississippi considers the complaining spouse (the person who files for a divorce) to be the plaintiff and the other spouse is referred to as the defendant. Typically this applies to at fault divorce where issues might be contested.
A plaintiff who files a petition for divorce has the burden of proof meaning they need to proof to the court that the grounds for divorce are true. The filing costs is around $200 but the attorney fees can be much higher depending on how long the proceedings take.
After being served with the divorce papers, a defendant must answer the complaint by either agreeing to it or contesting it. The defendant can also file a counter complaint which then needs to be answered.
Once the complaints have been answered, a date is set for the hearing. Before that hearing, either party can seek what is called “temporary relief” in matters pertaining to child and financial support.
Mississippi Grounds for Divorce
As with other states there are similar grounds for divorce in Mississippi such as habitual substance abuse or physical cruelty. Adultery is also grounds for divorce in Mississippi but there are some conditions. For instance, if it looks like the husband and wife agreed to set up adultery just to get the divorce it might not be granted.
On the other hand, the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove evidence of actual sexual relationships but merely the intent and means to commit adultery. In other words, if a suspected cheating husband is followed to a hotel where he meets up with another woman that can be grounds enough for divorce.
Another grounds for divorce in Mississippi is insanity if the plaintiff wasn’t aware of the condition before the marriage. The same for instances of bigamy or incest where the couple is actually related and would be prohibited by law to get married. Also, if the wife is pregnant by another man at the time of the marriage but the husband wasn’t aware of this then the husband can be granted a divorce.
Mississippi Distribution of Property in a Divorce
Mississippi is an equitable division state which means the court will decide what is fair with regard to dividing up the property. The court takes into account the contributions each spouse made to specific assets, the market value and the emotional value of each item that might be contested and the financial needs of each spouse as it relates to maintaining their standard of living.
When it comes to all the household goods, the Mississippi advises that the parties agree on these items before the hearing. If they can’t come to an agreement, the court might order the items to simply be sold and spilt the proceeds evenly.