Evans Law Firm, PLLC, represents Mississippi Gulf Coast clients in various family law matters. If you have a family law case on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Harrison County, Jackson County, or Hancock County, including Biloxi, D'Iberville, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Ocean Springs, and Pascagoula, our law office in Biloxi could assist you. Our office has experience in Chancery Court matters. The representation of an attorney increases your chances of a favorable outcome. Our goal for each case is to ensure that the family law matter is completed with the best possible outcome.
Adoption is a legal process where parental rights are transferred from the birth parents, or natural parents, to the adoptive parents. Adoption allows the adoptive parents to have all legal rights with regard to the child, as if the child were biologically born to the adoptive parents.
Alimony, also commonly referred to as spousal support, is a husband's or wife's court-ordered monetary payment to a spouse after separation or divorce. The law does not discriminate between whether a husband or wife can receive spousal support. The court will look at many factors, including the length of the marriage, age, the physical and mental health of each party, and each spouse's financial resources, to determine the type and amount of alimony to be awarded in a divorce.
There are very specific grounds for the annulment of the marriage in Mississippi, and annulment proceedings are rare. If a marriage is annulled by law, the marriage is treated as if it never existed. Generally, when people discuss annulment, it is a religious annulment, not an annulment by law.
The Mississippi Youth Court has jurisdiction over cases involving allegations of abuse or neglect of a minor child. The Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services (MDCPS) will also have involvement in the case as an investigative role. Youth Court proceedings are not open to the public; however, Youth Court does conduct hearings concerning minor children similarly to other courts of law.
Child custody will generally involve a determination of both the legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to decisions about the minor child's health care, education, religion, and other issues. Whereas physical custody refers to where the child lives and can involve the parents sharing joint physical custody or one parent being the primary custodial parent, the other has visitation.
As to child support, Mississippi has adopted a "flat percentage method" of calculating the amount that should be paid for the care of the minor child. Child support in Mississippi is paid until the minor child reaches the age of twenty-one or becomes emancipated. The noncustodial parent has an obligation to assist in support of his/her minor child.
Mississippi no longer recognizes common law marriage. A cohabitation agreement is a legal, contractual agreement between two parties that live in a household together as an unmarried couple to establish rights regarding income, property, and other decisions. Though the cohabiting couple's separation will not be handled under divorce law, the court may apply contract law.
Divorce in Mississippi is based upon one of the fault grounds available by law. The most common grounds seen in our practice include adultery; being sentenced to any penitentiary and not pardoned before being sent there; willful continued and obstinate desertion for the space of one year; habitual drunkenness; habitual and excessive use of opium, morphine, and other like drugs; and habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, though there are other grounds available. The party seeking a divorce on a fault ground has the burden of proving to the court the entitlement to divorce based upon a fault ground.
The court can grant a divorce on irreconcilable differences with the spouses' agreement to divorce on that basis. The parties can also agree with other issues of the marriage within the law's bounds, including child custody, child support, division of debts, and property division.
Providing practical solutions for fathers seeking custody or visitation. Our firm will work with you to explain your rights as a parent and prepare you for what to expect in a family court hearing. Mississippi has a presumption that both fathers and mothers are entitled to custody of the minor child.
Grandparents are secondary to the parents with regard to whom has parental rights. There are certain situations where a grandparent may be granted custody of a grandchild. The grandparent would be required to bring a third-party custody proceeding.
In certain family law and juvenile court proceedings, a Guardian ad Litem is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interest of a minor child, serve as an attorney for the child, or investigate and make recommendations to the court in regards to the case. A Guardian ad Litem is required to obtain certification each year.
Spouses have the ability to attempt to settle matters of divorce, child custody, child support, and division of debts and assets within the bounds of the law. Whether a fault-based or irreconcilable differences divorce, spouses can choose to settle issues between them so long as the agreement is within the law's guidelines.
A parent may need to assert his/her parental rights if a custody or visitation determination has not been established between the parents. Additionally, paternity can be at issue if the Mississippi Department of Human Services is involved regarding custody of a minor child and in termination of parental rights cases. A parent cannot simply choose to voluntarily terminate his/her parental rights to be relieved of obligations concerning the minor child, such as child support. The termination of a parent's parental rights must be deemed to be in the child's best interest.
Paternity is a determination of legal parentage. A child of unmarried parents may not have a legal father unless the father is on the birth certificate, or he establishes paternity. Without legal parentage, a father is not obligated to pay support for the child, and he cannot establish custody or visitation rights.
Postnuptial: A written agreement signed by husband and wife after the couple's marriage to settle the couple's assets and affairs in the event of separation or divorce.
Prenuptial: A written contract entered into by two parties before marriage to settle the couple's assets and affairs in the event of separation or divorce after the marriage.
A civil court order for victims of abuse from someone to whom they are married were formerly married, with whom they have a dating or intimate relationship or formerly had such relationship, or someone with whom they have a close family relationship. Protective orders through Ex Parte Emergency Abuse Protection Order, Temporary Domestic Abuse Protection Order, or Final Domestic Abuse Protection Order are available for victims of abuse, rape, physical threat, or stalking.
Several different grounds exist for the termination of a parent's rights, including abandonment or repeated abusive acts. The court looks to the minor child's best interest in regards to termination of parental rights cases. A parent cannot simply elect to have his/her rights terminated. In most cases, not involving the State, parental rights termination will only be granted to allow a subsequent adoption.
Mississippi law presumes that it is in the best interest of the minor child to remain in the custody of the natural parent. The court will require a showing that the natural parent has abandoned the child, the parent is entirely unfit due to abandonment of the child or relinquishment of parental rights, or because the parent's conduct is detrimental to the child.
The court determines visitation based upon the best interest of the minor child. When one parent has primary physical custody or the child lives primarily with that parent, the noncustodial parent has a right to unrestricted liberal visitation with the minor child so long as there are not unusual circumstances. Visitation may be restricted if it could cause harm to the child.
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