Unlike the vast majority of the other states, Mississippi’s laws do not allow for contested no-fault divorces.
As the name implies, in a no-fault divorce, the couple asks a court to grant them a divorce even though neither admits to doing something to damage or ruin the relationship.
Most often, the couple will admit that they have differences which they are not able to resolve.
In Mississippi, a no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences can only move forward if both spouses agree to it. If either spouse does not consent to a divorce, then the other spouse will have to prove he or she is entitled to one based on several grounds.
Fault-based divorces are not automatic
A contested divorce is not an automatic procedure. A spouse who wants the divorce will actually have to document the legal reasons for the divorce in front of a judge.
Some of the reasons for a divorce may not be self-evident. For example, the ground of desertion involves more than two spouses just living apart, or living completely separate lives in the same home, for 1 year.
One spouse also has to intend to cut off the marriage over the objections of the other spouse.
Likewise, proving a person is a habitual alcoholic or drug user or who has habitually treated his or her spouse “cruelly and inhumanely” requires clear and convincing evidence.
Mississippi courts have expanded the definition of cruel and inhuman treatment to include a pattern of treatment that affects a spouse’s physical health, even if it does not amount to physical abuse.
Still, someone in or around the Gulfport area who needs to go forward with a contested divorce should consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney.
Moreover, any divorce, whether contested or not, could involve legal issues like child custody, property division and alimony.