Mississippi Divorce Law

Divorce – State Law Summary – Mississippi

Notes:  This law summary is not intended to be an all-inclusive summary of the laws of divorce in Mississippi, but does include basic and other procedures.

Grounds
Mississippi has both general and no-fault grounds for divorce.  The general grounds upon which a divorce may be granted include:
1.  Natural impotency
2.  Adultery
3.  Being sentenced to any penitentiary without pardon
4.  Desertion
5.  Drunkenness
6.  Drug addiction
7.  Cruel and inhuman treatment
8.  Insanity
9.  Marriage to another
10. Pregnancy of wife by one other than husband
11. Incest

The no-fault grounds upon which a divorce may be granted is irreconcilable differences.  To obtain a no-fault divorce, a joint complaint must be filed or the defendant must either be personally served or appear by filing a written waiver of process.  MCA 93-5-1

Residency requirements
At least one of the parties to a divorce action in Mississippi must have been an actual bona fide resident of the state for six (6) months prior to the filing of the divorce action.  MCA 93-5-5

Venue
If the defendant is not a resident of the state, the complaint for divorce must be filed in the county where the plaintiff resides.  If the defendant is a resident of the state, the complaint shall be filed in the county where the defendant resides.  A complaint based upon irreconcilable differences may be filed in the county where either party resides.  MCA 93-5-11

Name of court and title of action/parties
An action for divorce in the State of Mississippi is filed with the Chancery Court.  The title of the action initiating the divorce is a Bill of Complaint for Divorce, while the title of the action granting the divorce is referred to as the Decree of Divorce.  The party filing the action for divorce is the Complainant, while the other party is referred to as the DefendantMCA 93-5-11

Waiting Period
Complaints for divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences must have been on file for sixty (60) days before being heard.  There is no waiting period for a divorce based on cruel and inhuman treatment, but it usually takes longer than 60 days to set a trial date.

Alimony
The court may grant alimony to either spouse.  MCA 93-5-23

Child custody
Custody may be granted in several different ways.  The court may grant joint physical and legal custody, joint physical custody and sole legal custody to either parent, joint legal custody and sole physical custody to either parent, or sole physical and legal custody to either parent.

Custody is awarded based upon the best interests of the child.  There is no presumption that it is in the best interests of the child that the mother be awarded either legal or physical custody.

The non-custodial parent shall not be denied access to the child’s medical, dental and school records unless that parent’s parental rights have been terminated.  MCA 93-5-23/24, 11-65

Child support
Mississippi has adopted guidelines for child support. The guidelines are based on the number of children:
Percent of Adjusted Gross Income
1 child = 14%
2 children = 20%
3 children = 22%
4 children = 24%
5 or more children = 26%
MCA 93-5-23/24, 11-65

Financial statement
The Mississippi  provides that unless excused by Order of the Court for good cause shown, each party in every domestic case involving economic issues and/or property division shall provide the opposite party or counsel, if known, financial disclosures of the following: (A) A detailed written statement of actual income and expenses and assets and liabilities, such statement to be on the forms attached hereto as Exhibit “A” and “B”.
(B) Copies of the preceding year’s Federal and State Income Tax returns, in full form as filed, or copies of W-2’s if the return has not yet been filed.
(C) A general statement of the providing party describing employment history and earnings from the inception of the marriage or from the date of divorce, whichever is applicable. See Rule 8.05.

Property division
By Court opinion, Mississippi recognizes basic equitable distribution procedures.  Marital property may be divided between the parties regardless of title.  In an irreconcilable differences divorce, the parties must agree on property matters in their separation and property settlement agreement.

Name Change
A spouse may petition the court requesting that upon divorce the court restore the party to the use of a former or maiden name.

Mississippi Divorce Law – Irreconcilable Differences


Divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences.

(1) Divorce from the bonds of matrimony may be granted on the ground of irreconcilable differences, but only upon the joint complaint of the husband and wife or a complaint where the defendant has been personally served with process or where the defendant has entered an appearance by written waiver of process.

(2) If the parties provide by written agreement for the custody and maintenance of any children of that marriage and for the settlement of any property rights between the parties and the court finds that such provisions are adequate and sufficient, the agreement may be incorporated in the judgment, and such judgment may be modified as other judgments for divorce.

(3) If the parties are unable to agree upon adequate and sufficient provisions for the custody and maintenance of any children of that marriage or any property rights between them, they may consent to a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences and permit the court to decide the issues upon which they cannot agree. Such consent must be in writing, signed by both parties personally, must state that the parties voluntarily consent to permit the court to decide such issues, which shall be specifically set forth in such consent, and that the parties understand that the decision of the court shall be a binding and lawful judgment. Such consent may not be withdrawn by a party without leave of the court after the court has commenced any proceeding, including the hearing of any motion or other matter pertaining thereto. The failure or refusal of either party to agree as to adequate and sufficient provisions for the custody and maintenance of any children of that marriage or any property rights between the parties, or any portion of such issues, or the failure or refusal of any party to consent to permit the court to decide such issues, shall not be used as evidence, or in any manner, against such party. No divorce shall be granted pursuant to this subsection until all matters involving custody and maintenance of any child of that marriage and property rights between the parties raised by the pleadings have been either adjudicated by the court or agreed upon by the parties and found to be adequate and sufficient by the court and included in the judgment of divorce. Appeals from any orders and judgments rendered pursuant to this subsection may be had as in other cases in chancery court only insofar as such orders and judgments relate to issues that the parties consented to have decided by the court.

(4) Complaints for divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences must have been on file for sixty (60) days before being heard. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3) of this section, a joint complaint of husband and wife or a complaint where the defendant has been personally served with process or where the defendant has entered an appearance by written waiver of process, for divorce solely on the ground of irreconcilable differences, shall be taken as proved and a final judgment entered thereon, as in other cases and without proof or testimony in termtime or vacation, the provisions of Section 93-5-17 to the contrary notwithstanding.

(5) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3) of this section, no divorce shall be granted on the ground of irreconcilable differences where there has been a contest or denial; provided, however, that a divorce may be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences where there has been a contest or denial, if the contest or denial has been withdrawn or cancelled by the party filing same by leave and order of the court.

(6) Irreconcilable differences may be asserted as a sole ground for divorce or as an alternate ground for divorce with any other cause for divorce set out in Section 93-5-1 .Reference 93-5-2.



Inside Mississippi Divorce Law