the Successful Representation
Divorce and other custody issues can be one the most important decisions you can make. We provide representation for divorce, custody, contempt issues, child support, paternity, and adoption.
You may obtain a divorce in Mississippi on the grounds of irreconcilable differences if both parties agree to it. Mississippi continues to be one of the few states that require both parties agreement on this “no fault” ground for divorce. An irreconcilable differences divorce must be on file for 60 days before a divorce is granted. Mississippi allows for separate maintenance; that is, one party has left the marital home and won’t return, without any fault of the other party. In this case, the court could make the leaving party continue to pay the mortgage, support, and other bills. However, the parties are still considered legally married.
There are twelve fault grounds for divorce in Mississippi, but by far the most common is the fault ground of cruel and habitual inhuman treatment. A lot of people file this under the “we fuss a lot” or “we just don’t get along.” Mississippi Supreme Court case law says that fussing and arguing isn’t enough however; you’ve got to show there is habitual conduct by the other party that arises to cruel treatment. The legislature has also recently added that a single incident of spousal abuse may be enough to have a divorce granted to you. Adultery is also a common ground and speaks for itself, as is habitual use of drugs, alcohol, and other opiates. Finally, you don’t have to pick a particular ground; you may assert as many grounds for divorce as you legitimately have.
Mississippi courts use the case of Albright v. Albright in determining initial custody cases.
The factors are:
The Albright factors are not to be applied in the manner of a scoresheet or mathematical formula. Lee v. Lee, 798 So.2d 1284, 1288 (Miss. 2001). The Chancellor may give special weight to one, two or several factors to determine the outcome. Divers v. Divers, 856 So.2d 370, 376 (Miss. App. 2003). The Chancellor has the ultimate discretion to judge the weight and credibility of evidence. Chamblee v. Chamblee, 637 So.2d 850, 860 (Miss. 1994); Johnson v. Gray, 859 So.2d 1006, 1013-1014 (Miss. 2003).
Once an initial custody determination is made, custody modification is possible. The standard is that, since the last custody order, a material change in circumstances in the custodial home has occurred, that is adverse to the best interests of the minor child, and a custody modification is in the child’s best interest.
Custody cases are always challenging, both legally and emotionally, and there are hundreds of cases on different aspects of custody that must be consulted, depending on the facts of your case.