If you are considering divorce, you need to be informed about the divorce process. You likely have questions about the divorce laws and processes in Mississippi. Our goal of this section of our firm’s site is to answer as many questions as possible. Potential clients are often seeking to find an attorney that will assist in making the divorce process as quick, affordable, and painless as possible
You can file a divorce in two ways: (1) representing yourself, called “pro se” representation, or (2) with the representation of your attorney. If you decide to represent yourself pro se, you will be responsible for drafting and filing the divorce complaint and other related documents for the divorce. If you hire or “retain” an attorney, then they will draft the divorce paperwork and file the case for you.
In Mississippi, to file for divorce you or your spouse must be a State resident for at least six (6) months. If filing a fault-based, or contested, divorce you must file in the county in which your spouse resides if your spouse is also a resident of the State. However, the divorce should be filed in the plaintiff’s county if the defendant is a non-resident. If the parties are filing an irreconcilable differences, or no-fault, divorce the parties can be filed in the county of residence of either party, or if one party is a non-resident in the resident party’s county.
If your spouse is not a resident of Mississippi, to file for divorce in Mississippi you must have been a resident of the State for at least six (6) months. Once you move to the State you must establish your residency, and then remain a resident for at least six months. You cannot file for divorce in the State without first meeting this requirement.
The main distinction in the world of divorce cases is a fault based (contested) and irreconcilable differences, or no-fault, (uncontested) divorce. The law considers marriage to be a civil contract between a husband and wife. Each of the parties agreed to certain rights and obligations under the civil contract of marriage. When a marriage fails the parties can seek to obtain a judicial decree which legally ends the marriage—a divorce.
In Mississippi an Irreconcilable Differences divorce is a no-fault divorce where the couple agrees that the divorce is irretrievably broken, and that the parties seek to sever the civil contract of marriage. Generally, when the parties agree to a no-fault divorce the parties agree to both the divorce and the settlement of other martial issues, including child custody, support, alimony, and property division. However, the parties can agree to the divorce itself and have the court make a determination as to the other marital issues.
In a fault based, or contested, divorce one party files suit against the other party to end the marriage. Mississippi has twelve (12) fault grounds by which the filing party must allege and prove to obtain a divorce. The following are the fault grounds: adultery, criminal conviction with a prison sentence, bigamy, impotence, willful continuous desertion for a minimum of one year, habitual substance abuse, habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, the spouses being related to each other by a certain degree of kinship, hospitalization for three years due to insanity, or a wife’s pregnancy by another man. The suing party must prove one of the fault grounds for the court to grant the divorce.
In an uncontested case the parties have come to an agreement, are on the same page with everything, and an attorney needs to be hired to prepare the paperwork, file the divorce, and present the divorce to the court. Many attorneys charge a flat fee, rather than an hourly rate, when divorce and related matters are uncontested.
In a contested divorce the parties disagree on core issues, and will likely need to proceed into the litigation process to some degree to resolve their case. In contested cases an attorney needs to be hired to prepare paperwork, file the divorce, participate in settlement negotiations, and potentially ready the case for trial. Most attorneys charge an hourly fee, rather than a flat fee, when there is a contest as to the divorce and/or related matters.
You likely have numerous other questions about the divorce process. Our website provides information to assist in answering your questions. Please check out the other sections of our website for further information about divorce and other topics. We offer question answer sections on custody, child support, and other matters. Given that legal matters are very fact dependent, as discussed above, it is beneficial to involve and attorney in your case.
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