Mississippi divorce details
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Uncontested VS Contested Divorce in Mississippi
There are two main ways to arrange your divorce - contested or uncontested.
A Contested divorce is based on a spouse’s misconduct. This fault ground also affects the decision on property division and spousal support arrangements. The Petitioner is eager to prove the spouse’s guilt, who in turn tries to defend themselves. As a result, a contested divorce can last many months and cost thousands of dollars as an attorney will be required.
An uncontested divorce on the other hand is when both spouses mutually agree to divorce. They prepare in advance and negotiate to reach an agreement on all the controversial terms of the divorce. They allocate property, rights, and liabilities, and sign a Marital Settlement Agreement. The file for divorce with the “Joint Complaint for Divorce” and are not required to participate in numerous court hearings.
Uncontested Divorce in Mississippi
An uncontested divorce is only suitable for couples who are willing to amicably negotiate and come to terms with the controversial issues of the divorce.
If you are qualified for one and the case is simple, you can handle it without a lawyer. There are DIY divorce features that can help you represent yourself before the court. In addition, it can help save you a lot of money and the case can be finalized within 60 days.
Grounds for Divorce in Mississippi
In order to file for divorce, you must identify the reason for the dissolution. You should decide whether you want to file for a contested fault-based divorce or an uncontested no-fault divorce.
In Mississippi, the fault grounds for divorce are the following:
- Felony conviction (for any time).
- Desertion for at least 1 year.
- Alcohol/drug abuse.
- Cruel treatment.
- Wife’s pregnancy by another (at the time of marriage and without the husband’s knowledge).
- Hospitalization due to insanity (for 3 years).
The only no-fault ground for divorce is “irreconcilable differences”. An uncontested divorce in Mississippi is usually referred to as “a divorce for irreconcilable differences”. This implies that the spouses’ desire to divorce is mutual. Unlike filing for divore with fault grounds, the spouses are not required to prove the fault before the court.
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Mississippi Residency Requirements to File for Divorce
There are certain residency requirements that must be met in order to file for divorce in Mississippi. One of the spouses must be a resident of Mississippi for at least 6 months before filing the Complaint for Divorce.
Furthermore, the paperwork should be filed in the county where either spouse resides (if both are state residents), or in the Petitioner’s current county (if the Defendant doesn’t reside in Mississippi).
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Mississippi?
The petition must be filed jointly for an uncontested divorce. The spouses must select the necessary forms and submit them to the correct Chancery Court together. Some other steps that must be taken in an uncontested case include:
- Discuss all the main terms of you divorce as well as post-divorce life with your partner and create a Settlement Agreement. Sign it and get it notarized. This is good if you get it prepared before filing the petition.
- Find the correct forms for your case and complete them. As you filing for divorce as co-petitioners, there is no need to serve your spouse spending extra time and money.
- Wait 60 days. This is Mississippi’s mandatory waiting period between filing the petition and the final hearing.
- Attend the final hearing. If you agreed on all the important issues and the judge approves you Settlement Agreement, the divorce order will be signed. If there are any disagreements, the judge may order them to be settled after the hearing, and the divorce process may be delayed.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Mississippi
If you are able to agree with your spouse regarding the main issues such as property division, child custody, and spousal support, you can avoid litigation and save yourself from expensive attorney fees. You can represent yourself before the court and finalize a divorce without a lawyer’s assistance.
However, the Mississippi bureaucracy is quite intricate, and the rules and required forms vary greatly from court to court. In order to not make a mistake, you can use the online services like ours to help you prepare the necessary paperwork.
For just $149, we can prepare the necessary documents accurately and on time. And most importantly, we customize the forms according to your situation and your particular court’s rules.
How much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
Due to the low filing fee, Mississippi is considered to be one of the cheapest states to get an uncontested divorce. The average price for a case is $113, and in chancery courts of some counties, it’s even lower - $93 for an uncontested case.
There may be additional costs depending on the individual case. These costs may include sheriff’s fees for serving (about $35), mediation fees (between $100 and $300 per hour), and attorney fees (flat fee for a basic case starts at $400).
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Mississippi?
The time it takes to get divorced in Mississippi is difficult to say as it depends on the case. The main condition that determines the divorce timeline is a mandatory 60-day waiting period after filing the Petition.
Another significant factor that determines the length of the divorce is whether or not the case is contested. While an uncontested case can be finalized within 60 days (or even less in certain cases), a contested one can take many months.
How to Serve Your Spouse in Mississippi
If you decide to file for divorce as a sole petitioner, it’s your responsibility to serve the other party with the divorce paperwork.
In Mississippi, there are several ways to deliver the copy of the Petition to your spouse:
- Your spouse can sign an acknowledgement of Acceptance of Service. They can file it with a chancery court clerk’s office.
- Sheriff. If your spouse refuses the accept the service, you should the Sheriff to serve them with the paperwork.
- Process server. You may ask anyone who is older than 18 (and is not involved in the case) to hand the paperwork to your spouse. The deliverer must complete a form that confirms the delivery was successful.
- Postal mail, but only with a return receipt.
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Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Mississippi
In the state of Mississippi, there is no standard set of divorce forms that is true for all the counties. Although the process of divorce, in general, occurs according to the same state family law, the titles and even essence of forms can vary from county to county. You should check with your Chancery Court to find out exactly which documents you need to file.
Keeping in mind that the names of the forms may differ, below is a list of the basic documents you need:
- Bill of Complaint for Divorce (Complaint for Divorce, Petition for Divorce - this form states your intention to divorce and points out the ground).
- Acknowledgment, Acceptance of Service and Appearance.
- Marital Settlement Agreement.
- Financial Disclosure Statements.
- Request for Hearing.
- Notice of Hearing.
- Decree of Divorce.
Mandatory forms for couples with children include:
- Affidavit Regarding the Children.
- Child Support Computation Worksheet.
- Child Support Guidelines.
Online Divorce in Mississippi
Online divorce refers to the preparation of necessary documents through an online service. This can help you save a lot of time and money. After a brief online questionnaire, online services like ours provide you with a prepared packet of documents that fit your individual case. All you need to do is sign them and file them with the court.
Rules for Child Support and Visitation in Mississippi
If the couple arrange the divorce based on irreconcilable differences, the spouses are allowed to decide the custody issue independently. If they file under fault grounds, the court awards custody at its own discretion, in order to ensure the child’s best interest. Many factors are taken into account when the decision is made by the court such as: parenting skills of each parent as well their conduct and age, health conditions and special needs of the child, the stability of the home environment, the child’s relationship with each parent, and the child’s wishes (if they are over the age of 12).
In general, there are two types of child custody:
- Physical custody. This refers to whom the child lives with. The parent in charge of physical custody is responsible for everyday support and care of the child.
- Legal custody. This refers to the decision making power regarding the major issues of the child’s life such as their upbringing methods, education, health, and possible emergencies.
Physical custody usually assumes that one parent is the custodian and the non-custodial parent has visitation rights determined by an agreement or by the court.
Legal custody can be either sole or joint. Joint legal custody is a favorable option if both parents are considered to be eligible and there is no history of abuse within the family.
As for child support, both parents are assumed to contribute to their children’s welfare. An accurate amount is calculated using the Child Support Worksheet, and each parent supports the child proportionally to their relative financial abilities.
Rules for Spousal Support in Mississippi
Although spousal support, or alimony, is not very popular in Mississippi, each spouse may still request the court to award it. Each individual case is considered carefully before it is awarded. The requesting spouse must be able to prove their need for financial support. Along with this, the judge considers certain factors such as: each spouse’s income and earning capacity, their age and health condition, and several others. Any fault or misconduct also influence the alimony arrangement.
There are three models of spousal support:
- Periodic alimony. The payment from one spouse to the other for a certain time frame. This period may be determined by a number such as a certain number of years, or until some circumstances change.
- Lump sum alimony. The one-time payment usually paid at the time the divorce is granted.
- Rehabilitative alimony. The aim of this payment is to help the spouse with insufficient income get an education and a good job in order to support themselves.
Division of Property in Mississippi
Mississippi is an equitable division state. This means that property must be divided in a fair (but not necessarily equal) way.
Officially, only common property is divided during a divorce. However, spouses sometimes mix their personal and marital property, and it becomes difficult to determine the ownership status of it at the time of divorce.
When making a decision regarding property division, the court takes into certain factors such as each spouse’s contribution to the accumulation and increase in value of the marital property as well as their contributions to its waste, value of the separate property, each parties’ reasonable needs, and several others.
Division of Debt in Mississippi
Marital debt is also divided along with marital property. Mortgages, car loans, credit card debts, and all other debts should be assigned to either one or both spouses.
Mississippi Supreme Court upholds the order that the spouse who collected the debt for the sake of their own benefit should be responsible for it. However, if it is impossible to determine the ownership, each party will be ordered to pay for half of the debt.
Divorce Mediation in Mississippi
Mediation is a modern and popular way to resolve disputes in a divorce. Mediation may be an alternative to litigation, or you can attend the mediation with your attorneys, and prepare for the trial in that way.
During the mediation session, the spouses negotiate the most controversial issues of their divorce under the guidance of a qualified mediator. Although the mediator is not allowed to order anything, they can help to find a solution or help predict the judge’s decisions regarding the parties’ propositions.
Mediation is a good bargain for those who arrange an uncontested divorce since the aim of one is to create a Settlement Agreement that is mutually beneficial and fair for both parties. It can help save a lot of money and also recommended in cases where children are involved.
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How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Mississippi
If you are unable to locate your spouse, you can still get a divorce. The process may take some time and demand additional efforts, but is not so complicated. The process is referred to as Divorce by Publication, or Publication Process. Here are the main steps:
- You must first try your best to search for your spouse. If your search fails, you must prove to the court of your efforts in the special “Affidavit of Diligent Search”.
- If the court is convinced, the clerk will issue the summons for your spouse.
- Afterwards, the service by publication begins. You must publish the summons in the local newspaper (in the county where you file for divorce). The notice must be published three times, once per week.
- The missing spouse is considered to be served and they have 30 days to respond.
- If your spouse fails to respond, the court hearing occurs without their participation and the divorce is finalized in your favour. The divorce decree resolves all the issues based on your requests outlined in the Petition.
Default Divorce in Mississippi
Default divorce refers to finalizing the process without the participation of the non-filing spouse. It can be considered as an automatic divorce in the case where they fail to respond to the petition on time. In Mississippi, a default divorce is a rather controversial topic.
Unlike in most other states, in Mississippi, you must prove your grounds for divorce even for a default one. If you request something in the Petition, you should also defend your interests at the hearing. Divorce will be granted, but your benefit isn’t considered to be priority.
Annulment of the Marriage in Mississippi
Annulment is a process that declares a marriage as invalid from the very beginning. In the eyes of the law, the marriage never existed. Unlike a divorce, you cannot annul a marriage just because you want to. There are certain grounds for annulment in Mississippi:
- Incest (including step relations and adopted children).
- Underage marriage. Parental consent is required for females between the ages of 12 to 15 and for males between the ages of 14 to 17. Parental notice is required for females between the ages of 15 to 21 and for males between the ages of 17 to 21.
- Mental incapacity at the time of marriage registration. Annulment under this ground must be filed within 6 months after the marriage was registered.
- Consent to the marriage obtained by force or fraud.
- No Cohabitation (the spouses initially live apart after the marriage).
Legal Separation in Mississippi
Legal separation is not recognized in Mississippi courts. In the Magnolia State, the spouses must instead file for separate maintenance.
Separate maintenance is very similar to the process of legal separation in other states. It implies that the spouses divide their property, rights and liabilities, and live separate and apart. Separate maintenance, like legal separation, doesn’t terminate the marriage.
It can be said that this motion exists to encourage reconciliation between the spouses. Separate maintenance remains in effect until the divorce decree is entered into or the spouses begin to cohabitate.
Same-Sex Divorce in Mississippi
Same sex marriage and divorce have been recognized in Mississippi since 2014.
Since then, all spouses regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity have equal rights and must take the same steps to obtain a divorce, annulment, or request separate maintenance.
Military Divorce in Mississippi
If you or your spouse is in the military, you can file for divorce in Mississippi if you are stationed there as a service member.
The grounds for divorce are the same as for a civil case, but there are some peculiarities regarding the serving process. According to the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, all military spouses are protected from a default divorce. The military spouse (defendant) may not be served as long as they are on active duty plus an additional 60 days after that. This is so that they are served properly and given enough time to file a response.
Furthermore, under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, military pension is not subject to division unless the marriage lasted longer than 10 years.
How to Divorce a Spouse in Jail in Mississippi
There are no special rules or regulations on divorcing a spouse in jail. They must be served with the necessary paperwork and they have the right to respond - either sign an irreconcilable differences divorce or hire an attorney and contest the case. The rest of the process depends on your individual case.
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Mississippi Divorce Filing Fee
Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using DivorceFiller.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?
The filing fee may be waived for indigent spouses who really cannot afford to pay. In order to waive the court fee, the petitioner must sign the relevant affidavit and provide proof of their financial difficulties.
How We Can Help
We can help you handle an uncontested DIY divorce in Mississippi as quickly and easy as possible. For a reasonable price of just $149, we provide you with a prepared packet of forms that fit your individual case accurately and on time. We guarantee that our forms are approved by the court. Reach out to us if you have any questions as we are always here to help.
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