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At-fault and no-fault divorce in Mississippi

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Divorce

Couples who are planning to get divorce often have many reasons for separating. In no-fault divorce states, the court does not generally require you to cite a fault-based reason for the divorce in your petition. Citing irreconcilable differences in your petition is sufficient to have your divorce granted in a no-fault state.

In Mississippi, you may file for either no-fault or at-fault divorce. If the couple agrees to the divorce based on “irreconcilable differences” and can settle divorce related issues, the divorce will be considered a no-fault divorce. However, if one spouse files suit against the other for a divorce based on one of the 12 fault-based grounds, the divorce is classified as an at-fault divorce.

The 12 fault-based grounds in Mississippi include:

  • Habitual cruelty.
  • Adultery.
  • Desertion (willful, continuous, for one year).
  • Habitual drunkenness.
  • Habitual and excessive drug use.
  • “Natural” impotence.
  • Bigamy.
  • Wife pregnant with another man’s baby without husband’s knowledge.
  • Spouses related closely enough for marriage to be illegal.
  • Incarceration in prison.
  • Spouse’s mental illness or disability that other spouse did not know of at the time of marriage.
  • Spouse’s incurable mental illness resulting in confinement in psychiatric institution.

In addition to granting a divorce based on the above grounds, a family law court may also consider these grounds when making decisions relating to property division, alimony, and child custody. However, courts are not in the business of punishing spouses for their “faults,”

For example, a spouse may not have to give up a larger portion of their share of the marital assets simply because they had an affair. But, if there is evidence that one spouse spent marital funds on their affair partner, the court may make sure the other spouse gets a larger portion of the marital assets.