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.

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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 Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

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You Never Marry the Right Person.

This thought provoking title was taken from an excerpt from The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller and appeared in Relevant Magazine.  This title, while appearing startling, is actually pretty profound if you think about it.  The gist is that searching for someone who accepts you as you are and fulfills your desires, creates an unrealistic set of expectations that frustrates both you and your partner.  This results in someone relying too much on a marriage partner for their own self-fulfillment.  It creates impossible expectations.

StuartMiles/Freedigitalphotos.net
StuartMiles/Freedigitalphotos.net

The article instead encourages one to view marriage as the coming together of two flawed people working to create “stability, love and consolation.”  While the search for soul-mates and the one that “completes you” is romantic to think about and makes for entertaining movies, (if you like that sort of thing try, He’s Just Not That Into You) it is unrealistic and overly simplistic.   The article concludes, “[s]imply put—today people are asking far too much in the marriage partner.”  And I would add, and not asking enough of themselves.

You never marry the right person, but the marriage can be right!

Source:  THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE © 2011 by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller.  Published by Dutton, A Member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 

 

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

 

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

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