Advice to Parents; Grow up

If you are the parent to a child then act like it.

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We have seen the reports and stories of parents going off the deep end. Using illegal drugs, abusing substances, pursuing bad-idea relationships and ultimately putting their own selfish desires above the needs of their children.  It’s time to stop.

There are only a handful of people that you, as a parent, are ultimately responsible for; yourself and the people you brought into this world, your children.

Don’t shirk your duties. Don’t neglect your children. Don’t be so consumed with your own desires that you lose sight of what is important. Don’t hate another person so much it clouds your judgment when it comes to your children.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody attorney and encourages parents to grow up and act like a parent.

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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.

Annulment 101

§ 93-7-3. Causes for annulment of marriages.

Annulment is having your marriage legally revoked.

A marriage may be annulled for any one (1) of the following causes existing at the time of the marriage ceremony:

(a) Incurable impotency.

(b) Adjudicated mental illness or incompetence of either or both parties. Action of a spouse who has been adjudicated mentally ill or incompetent may be brought by guardian, or in the absence of a guardian, by next friend, provided that the suit is brought within six (6) months after marriage.

(c) Failure to comply with the provisions of Sections 93-1-5 through 93-1-9 when any marriage affected by that failure has not been followed by cohabitation.

Or, in the absence of ratification:

(d) When either of the parties to a marriage is incapable, from want of age or understanding, of consenting to any marriage, or is incapable from physical causes of entering into the marriage state, or where the consent of either party has been obtained by force or fraud, the marriage shall be void from the time its nullity is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(e) Pregnancy of the wife by another person, if the husband did not know of the pregnancy.
 
Suits for annulment under paragraphs (d) and (e) shall be brought within six (6) months after the ground for annulment is or should be discovered, and not thereafter.
 
The causes for annulment of marriage set forth in this section are intended to be new remedies and shall in no way affect the causes for divorce declared elsewhere to be the law of the State of Mississippi as they presently exist or as they may from time to time be amended. § 93-7-3.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce and Annulment lawyer in Mississippi.

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Divorce, Child Custody & Child Support, Alimony, Contempt, Modification, Youth Court, Adoption and Appeals.

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