Child custody are primary family law matters in which we commonly represent clients. Whether your child custody case arises from a divorce or not, we can advocate for you and ensure that your voice is heard in court. Sections 93-5-23 and 93-5-24 of the Mississippi Code are the laws responsible for the custody of children and child custody orders. When the court makes decisions about child custody, it will focus on an arrangement that is in the best interests of the child.
A judge can take into account many different factors in deciding what is in the child’s best interest, including but not limited to:
- Existing relationship between the parent(s) and the child;
- Ability for the parent(s) to provide necessary care for the child;
- Economic stability of each parent; and
- Ability for each parent to guide the child’s emotional and ethical development.
Taking Care Of The Kids
Many of our divorce clients also face issues involving child custody, and other issues involving children. We offer compassionate guidance for these sensitive issues and will help resolve disputes as quickly as possible. Protecting your family is a top priority at our firm.
Jackson Family Law & Divorce FAQs
Going through a divorce, custody dispute or other family law matter can be a stressful experience, especially if you don’t know your rights or what to expect. Here are answers to common questions about divorce and other family law matters in Mississippi. If you have other questions, or if you need representation in a family law matter in Jackson, call Derek L. Hall, PC at 601-202-2222.
Family Law & Divorce FAQs
A divorce does not have to be a fight. If you and your spouse can work out all the issues between you, then you can obtain a divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences without having to go through any litigation. You must submit to the judge a written agreement on all the issues in the divorce (child custody, alimony, property division, etc.), or agree to let the judge decide any contested issues. If the judge reviews your agreement and decides that it is fair, then the court will grant your divorce.
If there are contested issues in your divorce, it is in your best interests to hire a lawyer to represent you. Even with a lawyer, your divorce need not be a battle, but what matters most is that your rights and interests – and those of your children – are properly represented in the final outcome.
A divorce is the dissolution of a legal marriage; an annulment is an official declaration that the marriage was never valid in the first place. The grounds for an annulment are very specific and not always available. For instance, an annulment may be available in the case of incurable impotency, if one of the parties has been legally declared incompetent or mentally ill, or if one party was incapable of consent due to age or lack of understanding. An annulment can also be sought if a person was tricked or forced into marriage, if the woman was pregnant with another man’s child, or if the marriage cannot be consummated, but an annulment on these grounds must be sought within six months of the marriage. Also, if the parties did not follow the legal requirements for obtaining a marriage license and did not later solemnize their marriage and cohabitate, the marriage may be annulled.
A couple in any of the above situations may continue to live as a married couple if they choose to. A bigamous or incestuous marriage, on the other hand, is void from the very start and is never valid.
If your husband were to adopt your kids, it would require a termination of parental rights for the children’s biological father. If he does not choose to voluntarily relinquish those rights, you would have to go to court and prove that grounds exist to terminate his parental rights. Such grounds might be available if he deserted you and cannot be found or is considered to have abandoned his children. If the father had no contact for six months with a child under three years old, or no contact for a year with an older child, this may be grounds for termination of parental rights. Also, if there were a series of abusive incidents or sexual abuse involving a child, you may be able to terminate parental rights. There will need to be a hearing in court, and the father has a right to be at that hearing and challenge any proposed termination of his rights.
If a parent has died, been denied custody of the children, or had his or her parental rights terminated, then the grandparents can petition the court for visitation rights. If none of these circumstances exist but a parent is denying access to the grandchildren, the grandparents would need to prove that they have a viable relationship with their grandchildren but are being unreasonably denied access to them. A viable relationship means that they have had frequent contact with the grandchildren, including occasional overnight visits, for a year or more, or they cared for the grandchildren while the parent was in jail or serving military duty. The grandparents must also prove that they provide some measure of financial support to the grandchildren for at least six months. Finally, the court must determine that visitation is in the best interests of the grandchildren. Whether you are seeking visitation or wish to deny access, you should get legal representation to help you through this adversarial process and courtroom hearing.