If you are married and your relationship is just not working and you want out in Mississippi, it is really important that you go about it in the right way so that there are no repercussions later on that you may regret. Before anything else, it is important to understand exactly how Mississippi views divorce and marriage. In the eyes of the law, marriage is considered a civil contract between two people. In that contract, both people agree that they have specific rights and responsibilities. If the marriage ends, the divorce is considered the judicial decree that legally terminates the marriage.
In Mississippi, there are several different ways that you can divorce your spouse.
- No-fault divorce: This happens if the divorcing couple agrees to the divorce and to whichever issues there are between them, such as child custody and child support, property division and alimony. On the other hand, if one spouse sues the other spouse for divorce, the suit will be based on one of 12 grounds for divorce that is permitted according to state law and the court will make the decision about whether to grant the divorce.
- Desertion: This is the intentional abandonment of one spouse from the other spouse for a minimum of one year without the agreement of the other spouse, without a legitimate reason to leave, a credible excuse or any clear intention to return to the marriage. In the eyes of the law, desertion can also happen with the two spouses in the same residence if the spouses cohabitate and if the deserter intends to leave the marriage. Additionally, the spouse who was deserted must state that they did not agree to the other spouse deserting and the deserting spouse must have expressed that they were not willing to renew the marriage. On the other hand, if the deserting spouse decides to try again in the marriage and the other spouse refuses, the refusing spouse will be considered the deserter.
- Natural impotency, insanity, idiocy or a wife’s pregnancy from another person: Any of these are considered grounds for divorce in Mississippi. In the eyes of the law in this case, the other spouse must not have been aware of any of these conditions before the marriage started.
- Adultery, custody to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, insanity that could not be cured and which developed after the marriage, habitual drunkenness, habitual drug use and habitual abuse: All of these must be proved and the consequences of the abuse must be proved by the other spouse. The other spouse must also prove that those conditions had a negative impact on the marriage. Finally, the other spouse must prove that the spouse with any of those conditions is irresponsible, unfit, reckless and incapable of meeting their marital responsibilities and duties.
- Habitual and cruel and inhuman treatment: This is considered a danger to the other spouse’s life, body or health or anticipates that danger. If the other spouse feels that staying with the abusive spouse is abhorrent, those are considered credible grounds in Mississippi. The other spouse must prove that is the case and that it occurred over time and what physical in nature.
- Incest and bigamy: Only the other spouse can use those as grounds for divorce. The law has specific definitions for what is considered incestuous.
If you are a resident of Mississippi, you must have lived in the state for at least six months. If your reason for divorce is irreconcilable differences, there is a 60-day waiting period. The spouses are expected to resolve all issues pertaining to the divorce during that time and the court must approve the property settlement agreement. If one spouse is suing the other for divorce, they must notify the other spouse at least 30 days before the court date.