Although divorce laws have changed in recent years to make the process more streamlined and convenient, each state still has some specific requirements that become large issues for certain individuals. That is why it is important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney before beginning the process to help navigate through some of these potential problems.

The marriage contract

Under Mississippi’s divorce laws, a marriage contract is treated like most other civil contracts. This includes a number of ways defined by law that can void the contract and end the marriage.

Residency requirements

The spouse who wants to file to dissolve the marriage must have been a Mississippi resident for at least six months before the proceedings. There is also at least a sixty day waiting period before the divorce can be finalized after the initial filing. Some couples who have recently moved from another state may find it more beneficial to file in their previous home state rather than waiting up to six months. The state also tends to delay divorces while a woman is pregnant until after the baby is born, so that child support and custody issues can be addressed at the same time.

Legal separations

Mississippi also allows for two people to legally separate without technically ending the marriage. This is often done for issues related to taxation, insurance, or child custody where neither party intends to remarry anytime soon. In most cases this agreement will eventually lead to a formal divorce and end to the marriage at a future time.

Property division

Property is also a very straightforward issue in Mississippi divorces. In most cases, if the title to a certain piece of property is in one person’s name, it will be theirs after the divorce as well and the other spouse cannot claim any ownership rights.

Fault and no fault divorces

Mississippi also allows certain divorces to proceed due to the “fault” of one party or another. Most divorces are now considered no fault divorces, which means that a couple can separate for any reason at all. However, fault divorces were the traditional reasons to end a marriage which included things like adultery, desertion, impotence, mental incapacity, and incest. A common fault ground is also domestic violence, which the state laws call “habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.” Usually this requires a demonstration of repeated incidents of abuse. A spouse who is found to be at fault may be treated more severely by the courts regarding issues such as child custody. In order for a no fault divorce to be granted in the state, both spouses must agree to separate along with providing most details about property division, alimony, custody, or any other important issues that are relevant to them.

Attorneys in the Jackson area can help

When a couple is about to get divorced, each spouse should retain their own legal counsel for more specific advice about how these laws may affect them based on their personal situation. Ballard Law PLLC can provide thorough guidance during this process to make sure each divorce proceeds as planned.