Adultery and Divorce in Mississippi

couple breaking up

Adultery is one of the biggest causes of divorce in the United States, and one of the 12 grounds for divorce in Mississippi. While no divorce is free of heartache and stress, divorces involving adultery are often the most painful. When filing for divorce on grounds of adultery, all evidence of infidelity, private details, and names of the parties involved will become public record.

Proving Adultery in a Mississippi Divorce Case

Establishing adultery in a Mississippi divorce case can be tricky. Mississippi state law defines adultery as “voluntary sexual intercourse on the part of either spouse with a person other than his or her own spouse.” Certain acts of infidelity that many spouses would consider cheating are not considered adultery under state law.

Only rarely will someone be caught in the act of committing adultery. Unless your spouse admits to having an affair, you may find it difficult to collect proper evidence. To obtain a divorce on the grounds of adultery, you must be able to show the court that your spouse had:

  1. an adulterous inclination; and
  2. the opportunity to satisfy that inclination.

Evidence in cases of adultery often includes witness testimony, financial records, and/or correspondence between the adulterous spouse and the alleged paramour. Even with credible circumstantial evidence, the Court may decide the evidence is not clear and convincing enough to grant a divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Condonation of Adultery

If a spouse’s infidelity comes to light, but the married couple continues to live in the same home and be intimate together, this is considered condonation of adultery. The Court may see this as a sign that you have forgiven your spouse for the affair and may not allow you to use the act of adultery as grounds for divorce. If you know or suspect your spouse has been unfaithful, a knowledgeable divorce attorney will be able to advise the best course of action in your case.

How Adultery Affects Alimony and Child Custody

Adultery and other forms of spousal misconduct can affect alimony decisions in Mississippi divorce cases. Alimony is intended to protect either spouse from impoverishment after divorce; it is not meant to be a punishment for bad behavior. However, Mississippi state law allows the judge quite a bit of discretion when making decisions about spousal support. Adultery is one of the factors the judge will take into consideration when deciding to award alimony.

Adultery is also a factor in child custody cases. Although adultery does not automatically disqualify a parent from winning custody of his children, the parent’s “moral fitness” is one consideration taken into account in child custody decisions. Ultimately, custody arrangements are to be made in the best interest of the child.

Contact a Jackson MS Divorce Lawyer for Assistance Today

If you are considering divorce, it is important to seek legal guidance right away. Especially in cases of suspected or confirmed infidelity, having an experienced family law attorney on your side can make a big difference in the outcome of your divorce. Contact the office of Derek L. Hall, PC, The Heavy Hitter in Jackson, MS to schedule a free consultation.