In a fault-based divorce, a person must have some “ground” against their spouse. In this context, “grounds” are a reason by law by which a spouse can request that the court grant a divorce. The filing spouse must prove the fault ground against his/her spouse, thus the filing spouse cannot be the offending spouse. Mississippi recognizes the following twelve (12) grounds:
Defined as incurable inability to engage in sexual intercourse.
The impotent party may not file on this ground.
Defined as voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with someone other than their spouse.
A single act of adultery is grounds for divorce.
A defense to divorce is condonation, or that the spouse condoned the behavior of the spouse which committed adultery. This occurs when the innocent spouse, after learning about the adultery, resumes a sexual relationship with the adulterous spouse.
This ground is not available if the sentenced party is pardoned before being sent to a penitentiary.
Defined as a spouse’s willful, continued, and obstinate desertion for one year.
In order to qualify as desertion, the deserting spouse must have left without the consent of the innocent spouse, must remain gone for one year, and must have intended to abandon the marriage.
If the deserting spouse attempts to come back and make a good faith attempt to reconcile with the innocent spouse within the one year time period, then desertion may not be used as a ground.
The complainant will have to prove that the respondent was frequently drunk, the drinking adversely affected the marriage, and that the habit continued at the time of divorce.
Complainant must prove the defendant used drugs frequently, not just occasionally, and that the respondent cannot control his or her appetite for drugs.
The use must continue at the time of divorce.
Complainant must prove that the defendant was cruel, which is conduct that endangers the life, limb, or health, or creates a reasonable apprehension of danger which makes the marriage unsafe for the petitioner.
Cruelty is also unnatural and infamous conduct that makes the marriage revolting to the petitioner and renders it impossible for him or her to continue the marriage.
For this ground the petitioner must also prove that his or her physical or emotional health has been detrimentally affected by the defendant’s actions.
A petitioner may also be granted a divorce upon proving physical violence, by showing repeated acts of physical violence, one or more severe episodes, or isolated acts of physical violence combined with emotional or verbal abuse.
Spousal domestic abuse may be established through the reliable testimony of a single credible witness, who may be the injured party, and includes, but is not limited to:
That the injured party’s spouse attempted to cause, or purposely, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to the injured party, or that the injured party’s spouse attempted by physical menace to put the injured party in fear of imminent serious bodily harm; or
That the injured party’s spouse engaged in a pattern of behavior against the injured party of threats or intimidation, emotional or verbal abuse, forced isolation, sexual extortion or sexual abuse, or stalking or aggravated stalking as defined in Section 97-3-107, if the pattern of behavior rises above the level of unkindness or rudeness or incompatibility or want of affection.
The complaining party must prove he or she did not know about the illness at the time of the marriage and that the defendant lacked capacity to contract on the date of the marriage.
Complainant must prove that the defendant was married previously, and that the marriage was never dissolved.
The husband must not have known about the pregnancy at the time of marriage.
Prohibited degrees are parents, grandparents, step-parent, step-grandparent, adoptive parent, sibling, half-sibling, uncle, aunt, first cousin, or his or her child’s widow.
May get a divorce on this ground if the respondent has been confined to an institution three years preceding the divorce action and if two physicians testify that the respondent is currently insane.
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