Category Archives: Irreconcilable differences

From No Fault to Yo’ Fault

The clever title to this blog was proposed by an attorney friend of mine that handles some family law matters, but practices extensively in other areas of law.

We were recently discussing how “No Fault” cases get derailed.  While Mississippi is technically not a true “No Fault” state, there are provisions for an Irreconcilable Differences divorce.  (commonly referred to as “No Fault,” blogged prior.)

We were discussing what gets them off track.  The parties, after getting over the initial shock of divorce, decide they will be adults and agree.  They think they can agree to the divorce and resolve their differences.   After all, they did manage to get along for 9 years, have two kids and bought a house.  What could go wrong?   Perhaps they searched online and looked at divorceyourself.com.  A very risky idea!

Well, the old adage that the devil is in the details is never truer than in divorce.  The No Fault idea gets derailed when the fellow realizes he will have to pay 20% of his income towards child support, plus health insurance and alimony. Yikes!  He realizes it’s cheaper to keep her.  (sorry for the cliché)  The wife gets squirrely when she realizes that her half of the retirement account is consumed by balancing the equity in the house, or that the money she gets cannot be realized without significant tax consequences.

Parties to a divorce don’t realize child support is until 21, not 18 in Mississippi.  They don’t know the types of custody, or what that means.  They agree to things that they cannot legally agree  to and fail to consider the consequences.  They agree to “legal terms” that do not exist in Mississippi law, because they saw it online.  And lastly, one of them is finally convinced to see an attorney by a close friend or family member and when they do and realize the consequences of what they were about to do and back out, the other side becomes angry and backs out too.  All of a sudden an easy deal becomes complicated, expensive and adversarial.

Want to keep your situation from going from No Fault to Yo’ Fault?  Do your homework, have an assessment with an attorney that practices family law, keep the peace, and be smart.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney that can handle your divorce whether it’s your fault, their fault, or somebody else’s.  Trust the Bow Tie.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer

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What to do when your Differences Cannot be Reconciled?

Irreconcilable Differences (“ID divorce”) is Mississippi’s answer to the NO FAULT* divorce.  Mississippi is not a true NO FAULT state. In MS both parties must agree to the divorce and to all the terms of the divorce, including ALL issues of child custody, child support, equitable distribution (how MS divides your stuff) and alimony, if any.  Every issue has to be agreed upon to gain an ID divorce***.  If ALL can be agreed upon, an ID divorce is just about the quickest and least expensive way to get a divorce in MS.

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The basic process is;

1) File a Joint Complaint for Divorce (begins the 60 day waiting period**),

2) Exchange Financial Statements (called an 8.05),

3) Draft and sign an Agreement stating all of the details of who gets what, and who pays what (called a Property Settlement Agreement or PSA),

4) Draft and sign a Final Judgment (the actual divorce), and finally

5) Present all to the Judge for approval.

The Judge will review the Filings, Financial Statements and Agreement, and if the judge finds it “adequate and sufficient” will sign off.   Upon the signed Final Judgment being filed and recorded by the clerk- You are DIVORCED.

Well that is fine, but what if we thought we could agree and now we cannot? What can I do then?

Either party can prevent an ID divorce by;

1) Not agreeing;

2) Not signing anything;

3) Filing on Fault;

4) Filing a Notice of Withdrawal of Consent.

An ID divorce is the most often granted type of divorce in Mississippi and even most fault based divorces are converted into an ID divorce.  The benefit to an ID divorce is that it does not require adversarial positions to be taken in Court and it gives you, the parties, the ability to agree and have the say in the outcome of your situation.  Anything that could be had in a fault based divorce can likewise be achieved in an ID divorce, with the sole exception of having the divorce granted on fault.

* In a NO FAULT state either party can secure the divorce regardless if the other party agrees . In the event they cannot agree the Court can divide the property.

** The 60 day waiting period is the minimum time that the parties to an ID divorce must wait. It is designed as a cooling off period.

*** There is also the possibility of a hybrid situation where you and your spouse can agree on the divorce and agree to let the Judge decide the issues that you cannot agree upon.  This technique, however, has its risks and should not be gone into lightly and certainly not without consultation of an attorney.

Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

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

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