Category Archives: Irreconcilable differences

60 Days = Divorce?

Sixty days and you are divorced is NOT the law in Mississippi.

§ 93-5-2 – Divorce on ground of irreconcilable differences

“(4) Complaints for divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences must have been on file for sixty (60) days before being heard... the provisions of Section 93-5-17 to the contrary notwithstanding.”

60 days is NOT a deadline. It is a minimum, mandatory waiting period. It provides sufficient time for a cooling-off period and typically sufficient time to do all of the things necessary to complete the paperwork required in an Irreconcilable Differences divorce.

You are NOT automatically divorced on day 60 or 61. It means that AFTER 60 days the completed paperwork may be presented to the Chancellor for their review and approval.

Additionally, all of the paperwork does NOT have to be completed before you file and the Court will keep the file open for at least 12 months with no additional activity. This means at any point after the initial filing and 60 days, a divorce may be presented and finalized.

Matthew Thompson is a “No Fault” divorce attorney in Mississippi.

Happy Birthday! Donate to Mississippi Legal Services

In lieu of birthday presents this year, I’m asking that you consider making a donation to Mississippi Center for Legal Services Corporation.

Legal Services afforded me my first legal “job!” The summer of my first year of law school I volunteered with them. I was assigned to work with an amazing attorney, Lula Anderson.

Attorney Anderson was one of the contract family law attorneys at the time and I heard Irreconcilable Differences Divorce 101 more times than I could count that Summer. Due to that experience it helped me get a paying clerkship with the family law firm Chinn & Associates, paving the way for Thompson Law Firm.

I’ve chosen this nonprofit because their mission means a lot to me. Legal Service’s attorneys represent low income families, pro bono, in Mississippi that need civil representation.

A lot of the great people I worked with are still there, including; Tara Bryant Walker, Richard Hitt, and Lindia Robinson just to name a few.

Since establishing my own firm, I have continued to volunteer with Legal Services. I now serve on the Board of Directors and routinely speak at Continuing Legal Education seminars for Legal Services. I’ll be presenting a Family Law Update on July 27 in Hattiesburg.

I hope you’ll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me. Every little bit will help the goal.

This link goes to the Facebook donation page.

331197450751450/331197460751449/https://www.facebook.com/donate/

No Facebook? Donate directly here.

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law attorney and Board member with Mississippi Center for Legal Services.

Clarion-Ledger: Protecting families, or prolonging misery?

Protecting families, or prolonging misery?

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi family law attorney and professor, and having difficult, drawn-out and costly divorces would be good for his pocketbook.

But Thompson supports reform and changes to divorce laws, “even though it’s against my own self interests.”

“The current laws make it expensive, and in some instances, impossible to get a divorce,” said Thompson, whose firm focuses on family law statewide and who is a professor teaching domestic relations at Mississippi College’s law school.

Thompson said the Legislature’s recent divorce law reform, removing a corroboration requirement for abused spouses, is a needed change.

“Our law has required cruelty claims be corroborated with evidence beyond that of the victim’s testimony,” Thompson said. “… Even if the court believed you, you had to have a neighbor, family member, police report or picture, or you didn’t have corroboration … Now, if the court finds the victim truthful and credible, the court can accept that. If you take a step back and think, that makes sense. Our judges have always been the lie detector, always the barometer of whether someone was credible.

“There is some form of abuse in a vast number of divorce cases,” Thompson said. “Not every one, but a lot of them. When you drill down and include physical, mental, emotional, verbal abuse — It’s a significant number of cases. We as human beings treat the people we are supposed to love the most the worst.”

Thompson said he supports Mississippi creating a “no-fault” ground for divorce. South Dakota is the only other state without such a ground. He said opposition to this change, from those saying it will weaken the sanctity of marriage and increase divorces, is misguided. In practice, Mississippi’s lack of a no-fault ground allows one spouse to hold up a divorce, sometimes for years.

“The idea behind making it difficult to get a divorce is that Mississippi is promoting marriage,” Thompson said. “But when you go 10 years and it costs tens of thousands of dollars — those aren’t intact families trying to get back together.

“Our law promotes divorce blackmail,” Thompson said. “… You have to pay what I say, or agree to what I want, or I won’t agree to a divorce … You have a fundamental, constitutional right to marriage, according to (a U.S. Supreme Court ruling). Shouldn’t you have a fundamental right to a divorce? I guess the counter to that is that you don’t have to get married.”

Thompson said some of the moral and religious arguments focused on divorce policies should be focused on the front-end, marriage policies.

“Our state has made it phenomenally easy to get into a marriage,” Thompson said. “There used to be a three-day wait, used to be a blood test requirement. But now you just go to the circuit clerk and pay $25.

“Studies show having mom and dad happily married and living together is what’s best for children and families,” Thompson said. “Having mom and dad get along and living separately would be second best. Mom and dad living together and fighting and being miserable, whether it’s violent or just cold war, that’s not the best. If this is really about protecting families, there are ways to do that, but still have an appropriate and reasonable means to get out of a marriage. It shouldn’t take a beating or physical violence to get there.”

Contact Geoff Pender at 601-961-7266 or gpender@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter.