Category Archives: Opinion

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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Voting & Mississippi -(a very brief history)

With the election one day away, this is the (obligatory) “be sure you vote” blawg.

Tuesday we go to the polls to elect State and National officials.  You get to vote for the person you think should be President, and a MS Senator, (if in your district) Congressmen, 2 MS Supreme Court Justices , and a host of local positions, such as election commissioners.

We hear and see a lot of talk about Mississippi being subject to Federal oversight in her elections.  Below is a brief explanation of that Federal oversight.

Mississippi has a stormy past when it comes to voting rights – attempting to restrict minority access to voting –  and those past State actions can still be felt in today’s elections.  Mississippi is one of 8 states subject to the Department of Justice “pre-clearance” and oversight on any voting/election law changes pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (Some sections of other states are subject to the pre-clearance oversight).

This legislation was designed to ensure the right of minority citizens to register and vote, and to prevent discriminatory laws passed by state and local entities. Both permanent and non-permanent provisions are proscribed. One permanent provision applies nationwide and outlaws any voting practice that results in the denial of voting rights on the basis of a person’s race, color, or membership in a language-minority group.

The non-permanent provisions that are relevant to Mississippi require “pre-clearance” of any changes in voting/election laws and  allows the DOJ to send federal observers to the polls in Mississippi

To pass muster any changes in voting/election laws must demonstrate that the voting change does not have the purpose or effect of discriminating on the basis of race or language minority. If the DOJ or the federal court determines that there is a discriminatory purpose or effect, then an objection is issued. If an objection is issued, the change cannot be put into operation.

Source: The Voting Rights Act and Mississippi 1965-2006, A Report of the RenewtheVRA.org, by Robert McDuff.

With that brief history of MS voting you can see the impact and importance that the right to vote has for many citizens.  Exercise your right to vote; let your voice be heard and your vote be counted.

Thompson Law Firm, PLLC            (601) 850-8000         Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com

Call an Audible! Effectively Making Adjustments in Strategy.

Watching the first half of the State game has inspired a blog! MSU is running a 3-4 defensive scheme. This means there are 3 defensive linemen and 4 linebackers. The problem here is that A&M is blocking 3 defenders with 5 and sometimes 6 blockers. The State defensive front is outnumbered.

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This allows the A&M QB, Johnny Football, time to find the open receiver or scramble around and run. Two things he’s good at.
The point is you have to have a game plan coming in, but when it’s not working and you find yourself trailing by 4 scores it’s time for a strategy change.
Divorce is the same way. You have to have a strategy to get to your end game. Be it through litigation or negotiation, but if you find it not working, change strategies!

A recent case I was involved in had the wife doggedly pursuing a cruelty based divorce. But cruelty “proof” was light to say the least. No physical abuse, no real major altercations and no extreme behavior by the husband. The wife’s strategy however was to take it all the way and get her divorce, despite that she could not. The husband’s strategy was to defend and negotiate. The wife refused. The husband stayed the course, much like, I suspect A&M will stay the course the second half.

Well, after a 1/2 day in trial and the wife’s “best” witnesses of cruelty barely making a fizzle with the Court, she decided to negotiate. The end result was an agreement to all issues with both giving more in some areas and taking less in others.

Her forgoing her prior game plan in the face of a defense ready for it resulted in an agreed resolution. Let’s hope MSU makes halftime adjustments with their defense and changes their game plan for the better.
UPDATE… The Bulldogs made adjustments at the half they came out with a 4 and 5 down linemen defensive scheme. They have been able to hold a potent A&M offense to just one additional score so far and have scored themselves and are putting together some good looking drives.

Make adjustments in your game plan as needed.

Thompson Law Firm, PLLC
(601) 850-8000
Matthew@ wmtlawfirm.com