Category Archives: General Legal

Condoning Bad Behavior; Losing Grounds for Divorce

They cheated! You found out…you TRIED to work it out, but the trust has been broken and you just cannot get over it.  You decide you have no choice but to file a suit for adultery.  You’ll get your fair share and move on. Right? Not so fast…

In Mississippi, to be awarded a Divorce, you have to either have Fault Grounds(click) against your spouse, that can be proven, or you and your spouse have to agree to ALL issues in the divorce, via Irreconcilable Differences(click). (All issues must be agreed; the divorce, itself, who gets what, who pays what, everything has to be agreed).

Additionally, in Mississippi, there are Defenses to a Divorce.  A Defense can be used to prevent the Divorce. One of those Defenses is Condonation.

Condonation is “legal forgiveness.”  This happens when the aggrieved spouse knows of the fault, in this example an affair, and decides to reconcile with the other party, when you TRIED to work it out.

Once the aggrieved party makes that decision to reconcile and the parties resume, or continue cohabitation, and resume marital relations (sex) the aggrieved party has legally forgiven the guilty party.  So what does that mean?  There are no longer grounds for divorce based upon adultery.

There are a few catches.  The guilty spouse must, in good faith, attempt the reconciliation intentionally with the purpose of saving the marriage.  Additionally, the aggrieved spouse can only forgive what they know about.  If there were multiple affairs and all were not disclosed there may still exist fault grounds, whether they are aware of it or not.  Also, the behavior, the adultery, if repeated revives the grounds for divorce.  That is, past acts that were known may have been forgiven, but if repeated the aggrieved would have grounds again.  Future acts would not be forgiven either solely based on a prior reconciliation.

Condonation is one of those more difficult issues to wrestle with in divorce.  The Court must consider the knowledge of the aggrieved spouse, the intent of the guilty spouse, the effort(s) to reconcile – whether they are in good faith.  All these are fact specific and subjective determinations to be made by the Court.

Warning!!  Some lawyers will advise the guilty party to do or say whatever is necessary to get the other party back in bed, for “reconciliation,” so that the defense of Condonation may be used.  If you find yourself in this situation, please seek the advice of an attorney prior to a reconciliation attempt.  Divorce attorneys can also help you save your marriage, or at least advise you on the ramifications if you try.


Grandparents, Not Just for Babysitting (Grandparent’s Visitation in Mississippi)

For as long as people have had children there have been grandchildren.  Where there are grandchildren there are Grandparents.  Where there are Grandparents there are free babysitters!

Mississippi has a statute, MCA 93-16-3, that specifically provides for Grandparent’s Visitation.  Grandparent’s Visitation is different from babysitting and is different from just being in the child’s life.  Specifically, Grandparent Visitation is for when the mother or father of the child dies, to insure that the Grandparent continues to have access to the child or when the Grandparent and their child have a falling out and the Grandparent has a viable relationship and active in the grandchild’s life, and also in divorce and/or Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) situations.

The law provides a viable relationship may be proven by showing that the grandparent has supported the grandchild in whole or in part for at least six months prior to the filing of the petition, or the grandparent had frequent visitation for one year prior to the filing of the petition.

The case of Martin v. Coop, 693 So.2d 912, 913 (Miss. 1997), list the factors the Court considers when determining the amount of Grandparent Visitation.

  • Potential disruption in the child’s life;
  • Suitability of the grandparents’ home;
  • The child’s age;
  • The age, physical and mental health of the grandparents;
  • The emotional ties between grandparents and the child;
  • The grandparents’ moral fitness;
  • Physical distance from the parents’ home;
  • Any undermining of the parents’ discipline;
  • The grandparents’ employment responsibilities;
  • The grandparents’ willingness not to interfere with the parents’ rearing of the child.

Usually grandparent visitation is not the equivalent of parental visitation.  Meaning grandparents will not get every other weekend under ordinary circumstances.

A Grandparent Visitation suit can also result in the Grandparents paying their own attorney fees PLUS those of the mother/father as  provided for in the statute.

Grandparents have rights in Mississippi to see their grandchildren.

**Grandparent Visitation is different from a grandparent seeking custody, which is a different standard and a blog for another day.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and knows grandparent’s rights.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or


Do I Need a Lawyer?

This question, “Do I NEED a Lawyer?” is asked of me on an almost daily basis.  It’s one of those questions that when you ask a lawyer if you need a lawyer – you know what the answer is going to be. “Yes!  You need a a lawyer.”  If you are having to ask if you need a lawyer, you probably need a lawyer.

So, when do you NEED a lawyer?

  • When you have been sued.  If there is an active lawsuit you need to see a lawyer.
  • When you have been seriously injured and it was not your fault.  This applies to car wrecks, but it also applies to any injury.
  • When you have been arrested.  Law Enforcement involvement is usually a significant sign that you need an attorney.
  • When there are significant risks involved.  Lawyers are trained to identify and attempt to minimize risk.

Well, you think, if I talk to a lawyer it may make the issue more serious.  Perhaps, but lawyers, for the most part try to help.  Their goal is to advise you, help you, and/or defend you from whatever harm is at issue.  Knowing your rights, being prepared, and being fully informed are never negatives to self-preservation.

Okay, so I need a lawyer. How do I find one? Glad you asked. (click me)

If you think you need a lawyer, You Do.  If you are asking yourself, or others, if you need a lawyer, You Do.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi.  He uses an attorney when he needs one and you should too.  Trust the Bow Tie.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer    Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or

What to do when your Thanksgiving Black Friday is Stolen; Identity Theft

With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching, it is always a good idea to be vigilant in protecting your identity.  Along with serious shopping comes a serious chance of having your identity stolen.

stockimages /

Clients frequently inquire about what can be done about stolen identity and fraudulent charges. The following are steps you should take immediately.

(1)      Contact the local police department and file a report of the theft.  Be sure to take as much documentation of the ID theft as you can.  *(Not all police stations will want to take the report, but the Federal Trade Commission has a Staff Memorandum to Police on the Importance of Taking Identity Theft Police Reports  which may be helpful in having the report filed.)

(2)      Contact any creditors for the accounts that you believe have been corrupted or fraudulently opened.

a.           Ask to speak with the Fraud or Security Department and inform them of the theft.  Some companies accept an Identity Theft Affidavit, but some require particular documentation to be provided.  Be sure to obtain the specific address to which a dispute letter or ID Theft Affidavit should be mailed.  Follow up the conversation with a letter.

b.          Request that the company provide all documents underlying the fraudulent activity.  By law the Fair Credit Reporting Act section 609(e), provides that creditors must give you a copy of the application or other business transaction records relating to your identity theft free of charge. Creditors must provide these records within thirty (30) days of receipt of your request. In order to obtain these records, you must mail your request to the address chosen by the creditor. Contact the creditor’s fraud department by telephone to find out if the creditor has chosen a specific address.

c.            If someone is misusing your existing checking account, accounts, or electronic funds transfers, such as your debit card, you should dispute in writing any charges run up by the identity thief on those accounts. Insist on having debits reinstated. Ask the representative to send you the company’s fraud dispute forms.  Dispute any bad checks passed in your name with merchants so they do not start collections actions against you.

 (3)      Contact the Fraud Department the credit reporting agencies (CRAs).  Inform them that you are an identity theft victim and that you wish to place a fraud alert on you file, as well as a victim’s statement requesting a call to you by the credit bureaus before opening or changing credit accounts.  An initial 90-day fraud alert will be placed, and this can be extended to 7-years, or a credit freeze can be placed.  (As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts, and all three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge.  The victim should receive confirmation letters from all three CRAs confirming the 90-day fraud alert.  If no letter is received, the individual CRA should be contacted, and the victim may be asked to provide additional proof of the identity theft.)

 The three major credit agencies and their contact information are:

1.  Equifax
For Fraud Alerts, call: 800‑525‑6285 and write:
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374‑0241
2.  Experian
For Fraud Alerts, call: 888‑EXPERIAN (397‑3742) and write:
P.O. Box 9530, Allen TX 75013
3.  TransUnion
For Fraud Alerts, call: 800‑680‑7289 and write:
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634

(4)      Each CRA will provide a free credit report.  The victim should review the report.  The victim should review the reports for errors.  If there are errors the victim will need to contact the CRAs in order to correct the credit reports.  The CRAs are required to block fraudulent items that the consumer did not open or that the consumer did not make.  Attempting to have the report corrected can be initiated by the victim sending an Identity Theft Report (police report), letter explaining what is fraudulent (highlight areas on the report), and proof of identity.

(5)      File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on their Identity Theft Hotline at 1‑877‑IDTHEFT (1‑877‑438‑4338) or their website at

(6)      Contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office and request an ID Theft Packet at 1‑800‑281‑4418.  Complete the ID Theft Affidavit in the packet and return it to this address:

Mississippi Attorney General’s Office
Consumer Protection Division
Post Office Box 22947
Jackson, MS   39225‑2947

(7)  Once the identity theft dispute has been resolved with the creditor, ask for a letter from the creditor stating that they have closed the disputed accounts and have discharged you of the fraudulent debts. This letter is the best proof if errors relating to this account reappear on your credit report or the victim is mistakenly contacted again about the fraudulent debt.  Keep old files. Although most cases once resolved, stay resolved, in some cases, problems can crop up again.

*Meridian attorney Amanda Evans provided this insightful primer on what to do.
2324 Front Street
Meridian, MS 39301
(601) 575-0096

Matthew Thompson is Domestic Relations Lawyer in Mississippi and reminds you to be smart when you shop in stores and online.  

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the websiteThompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or