Getting a Divorce in Mississippi

two broken golden wedding rings on divorce papers

Although you’ve made the painful decision to end your marriage, you may not know exactly what the process of getting a divorce in Mississippi involves. You don’t need to try to figure it out alone. The dedicated Mississippi divorce attorneys at Derek L. Hall, P.C. can guide you during this emotional time.

No matter where you are in the divorce process, you need experienced legal representation to get the best possible outcome for you and your family.

At Derek L. Hall, P.C., our lawyers will strive to help you reach a fair and favorable divorce settlement. Our team keeps your best interests front and center at all times. We make every effort to resolve matters outside of court so that you don’t have to be put through the stress of a trial. But if some issues must be resolved in the courtroom, you can count on our experienced divorce lawyers to take every step to handle the case efficiently, effectively, and with empathy.

If you need to know how to get a divorce in Mississippi, turn to us for help. Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a Jackson divorce attorney.

Grounds for Divorce in Mississippi

Mississippi law provides several grounds for a married couple to seek a divorce. The most frequently used type is the no-fault divorce. In a no-fault divorce, both spouses agree to seek a divorce. They will typically reach an agreement to settle the issues relevant to their divorce, such as equitable division of marital property, alimony, and child custody and support.

One spouse may also decide to seek an at-fault divorce. In an at-fault divorce, one spouse sues the other for a divorce on one or more of the 12 grounds for divorce established under Mississippi law. The spouse who files for the at-fault divorce will need to prove to the court that the alleged grounds for divorce exist.

The 12 grounds for an at-fault divorce in Mississippi include:

  • Desertion, or the willful abandonment of the marriage for at least one year without the other spouse’s consent, just cause, excuse, or intent to return to the marriage. Desertion does not necessarily include physical abandonment. A spouse can desert the marriage and still live under the same roof if the couple lives as strangers rather than a married couple.
  • Natural impotence, which must exist when the marriage begins and which the innocent spouse must not know of at the time of the marriage.
  • Adultery, or when one spouse has voluntary sexual intercourse with someone who is not his or her spouse
  • Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, or conduct that endangers a spouse’s health or creates a reasonable fear of such danger or that is of such an unnatural nature as to make the marriage revolting to the innocent spouse.
  • Habitual drunkenness that has a negative impact on the marriage and renders the offending spouse unable to perform marital responsibilities.
  • Habitual and excessive drug use that renders the drug-using spouse reckless and unfit to perform his or her marital duties.
  • Incarceration
  • Incurable insanity developed during the marriage.
  • Bigamy or polygamy – Only the innocent spouse may rely on these grounds for a divorce.
  • Incest, as defined under state law.
  • Insanity or idiocy that exists at the beginning of the marriage, unbeknownst to the spouse before the marriage.
  • Wife’s pregnancy by another person at the time the couple is married, with the husband having no knowledge of the wife’s pregnancy or paternity of the child prior to the marriage.

Steps for Separation and Divorce in Mississippi

The divorce process in Mississippi involves several steps that begin even before you may be eligible to file for divorce. First, either you or your spouse must meet the residency requirement of having lived in Mississippi for at least six months before filing for divorce.

A divorce complaint must be filed in the correct county. If your spouse lives in Mississippi, you must file your complaint in either the county where your spouse now resides or the county where you and your spouse lived when you separated. If your spouse lives outside of Mississippi, you must file your complaint in the county where you live.

If both you and your spouse live in Mississippi and you are filing for a no-fault divorce, the complaint may be filed in either county where you or your spouse now live. The county court where you file your divorce complaint may have specific forms that you must fill out and submit along with your divorce complaint.

In the complaint, you must either state that you seek a no-fault divorce or allege one or more of the 12 grounds for divorce. The complaint must also set forth any issues you want to be resolved in the divorce, such as alimony, child custody, child support, and division of marital assets and debts.

If you file for a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must observe a 60-day waiting period before the divorce proceedings can begin.

Once the complaint is filed in court, you’ll need to serve a copy upon your spouse. Your spouse can either accept a copy and sign an acknowledgment that you file in court, or you can have the sheriff’s office, a process server, or any individual over 18 deliver a copy of the complaint to your spouse. If you can’t complete an in-person delivery of the complaint, you can request the court allow you to use one of the alternative service methods permitted under Mississippi law.

Next, you and your spouse will need to exchange financial disclosure and other information, including your respective incomes, assets and debts, bank and brokerage statements, and pension or retirement benefits.

In most divorce cases, the parties reach a settlement agreement on all the issues in the divorce. If the spouses settle all outstanding issues, they can ask the court to incorporate their agreement in the judgment of divorce. If any issues are not resolved by settlement, the court will need to hold a trial to enable the court to resolve those issues. The court will also hold a trial in an at-fault divorce for the party seeking divorce to prove that one or more grounds exist for divorce.

How Can the Attorneys at Derek L. Hall, P.C. Help With Your Divorce?

When you’ve decided to end your marriage, let the divorce attorneys at Derek L. Hall, P.C., you through the hard times. We will:

  • Explain the Mississippi divorce process so that you know what to expect at every stage
  • Advise you on your rights and options
  • File court paperwork on time and accurately
  • Handle the complex financial issues in divorce, including dividing you and your spouse’s assets or determining child custody and support
  • Communicate with your spouse or your spouse’s counsel so that you don’t have to face the added strain
  • Protect your rights and interests as we try to reach a fair and favorable settlement for you
  • Advocate on your behalf in court, if necessary

If you’re just beginning the divorce process, you don’t have to go in blind. Contact Derek L. Hall, P.C. today for a free, confidential consultation.