When filing for divorce, the spouse asking for the divorce must identify the “ground,” or reason, for the break-up of the marriage. Mississippi has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.
What are the ”fault” grounds in Mississippi?
In a “fault” divorce, one spouse accuses the other of causing the breakdown of the marriage because of some misconduct.
The fault grounds in Mississippi include, but are not limited to, the following:
- bigamy, or marriage to someone else at the time of marriage
- criminal conviction and sentence to any jail time
- willful continuous desertion for at least one year
- habitual alcohol or drug abuse
- habitual cruel and inhuman treatment
- wife’s pregnancy by another at the time of marriage without the husband’s knowledge, and
- hospitalization or institutionalization of a spouse for three years due to insanity.
In Mississippi, the most commonly used fault grounds are adultery, desertion, and habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. It is important to note that only the “injured party” can file for divorce on a fault ground. This means, for example, that if a wife committed adultery, the husband is the injured party and only he can file for divorce on the ground of adultery.
The spouse alleging fault has to prove it in court at trial. A trial is where both sides present evidence, witness testimony and documents, for the judge to decide who wins the case.
A court’s finding that one spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage may affect how much alimony the court awards.
What are the “no-fault” grounds for divorce in Mississippi?
The only “no-fault” ground for divorce in Mississippi is “irreconcilable differences.” Irreconcilable differences means that the spouses can no longer get along and there’s no reasonable chance of them getting back together. In order to obtain a no-fault divorce, both spouses must agree to divorce on the basis of irreconcilable differences. If one of the spouses does not agree, the spouse seeking the divorce must prove that the other spouse committed one of the “fault” grounds listed above.
If the spouses do both agree to divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, they have to wait 60 days after filing before the court will hear their case. If the spouses also agree on other issues like alimony, division of property and debt, child custody, and child support, the court will enter a judgment of divorce that also includes those terms.
If the spouses agree to divorce on irreconcilable differences, but can’t agree to things like alimony, division of property and debt, child custody, and child support, the court will decide those issues after a trial. Then, once the court has decided the contested issues, the court will also grant the divorce on the basis of irreconcilable differences.