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Overview of Mississippi’s child custody laws

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2022 | Divorce

Mississippi’s child custody laws are still largely a collection of court decisions as opposed to statutes passed by this state’s lawmakers.

Still, Mississippi has a lot in common with other states. For one, when deciding on custody between two legal parents, Mississippi courts will not favor one parent over the other but will instead decide what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the children.

The courts will consider a number of factors when making custody decisions. Ultimately, though, a court’s custody and parenting time decisions will depend a lot on a family’s particular situation.

Again, like other states, Mississippi courts consider two types of custody.

Legal custody gives a parent the power to make important decisions over how the child will be raised. The parent with physical custody is the parent who spends the most time with the child.

Courts may award both joint legal custody and joint physical custody to parents. In a joint legal custody arrangement, both parents have to work with each other to make decisions about topics like the child’s health care, education and moral upbringing.

Joint physical custody means each parent will have the child in their home for a significant amount of time.

Parents who have joint physical custody will of course have to work out a schedule, but there is no requirement that they split their time with their children exactly 50-50.

Mississippi child custody decisions can be hard to change later 

Gulfport residents and those in the surrounding communities who are going through a child custody case should be aware that Mississippi’s judges do not revisit their custody decisions easily.

For example, even if the other parent has made some positive changes, that parent will still have to prove that something about the custodial parent’s living circumstances has changed for the worse. The change also has to harm the children in some way.

Getting a child custody case right the first time is critically important for parents along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. No matter their situation, these parents may want to consider seeking professional help for their custody proceedings.