Jurisdiction; Where to Sue.

Jurisdiction is one of those legal terms we hear a lot, but aren’t always sure what it means.  In the legal world, for a Court to be able to act upon a  filed complaint and grant relief to a party, the Court must have jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction provides the Court authority to makes decisions over a party and the topic of their lawsuit.

Mississippi law provides rules for determining if a Court has jurisdiction and where that may be.  MCA § 93-5-5, contains the residency requirements for a divorce  action.  Additionally, all actions for divorce will be filed in the Chancery Court for the appropriate county.

The jurisdiction of the chancery court in suits for divorce shall be confined to the following cases:

(a) Where one (1) of the parties has been an actual bonafide resident within this state for six (6) months next preceding the commencement of the suit. If a member of the armed services of the United States is stationed in the state and residing within the state with his spouse, such person and his spouse shall be considered actual bonafide residents of the state for the purposes of this section, provided they were residing within the state at the time of the separation of the parties.

(b) In any case where the proof shows that a residence was acquired in this state with a purpose of securing a divorce, the court shall not take jurisdiction thereof, but dismiss the bill at the cost of complainant.

In plain terms, this means you file your divorce action in your home county, or the County that you have resided in for at least 6 months, immediately filing the action.  If you were married in another stated and meet the Mississippi residency requirements you file in Mississippi.  If were married on the Coast, but live in Jackson and have for over 6 months you file in Jackson.  Sometimes, if you wish to file in your current area, but have not met the residency requirements you may have to wait.  Sometimes there are disputes as to residency and the parties can litigate where the case should be litigated.  Some states have different residency requirements than Mississippi so don’t bank on the 6 months if you are in another state.

There are also a number of exceptions or tweaks to the jurisdictional rules.  Another Court, or State, could have “emergency jurisdiction” in child custody cases pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act. (UCCJEA).  Also, if your divorce was originally in another state or another county, that original Court would have original jurisdiction and there are additional rules to “transfer” jurisdiction and in some instance you cannot move it.  Military family law cases also have exceptions to the traditional jurisdiction rules.

Jurisdiction is a critical aspect to consider when filing.  It is imperative that your case be filed in the right place geographically and the right Court.  You also may have options between differing Courts based on what is at issue in your case.  Talk to your lawyer about where your case should be filed.

Matthew is a family law attorney and native Mississippian.  Follow his blog, here, at http://www.BowTieLawyer.wp.com.

You may also contact Matthew with your family law or jurisdictional question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.

Holiday Burnout; 3 Tips to Cope and Keep Moving Forward.

Now that the Holiday’s hustle and bustle are behind us it is common for an emotional lull or brief bout of depression to set in.  These are the Christmas Blues and are real.  These are especially common in those persons dealing with the stress of family law litigation.

Christmas Blues happen for a number of reasons; all of the excitement and anticipation of the holidays have passed, financial problems that were ignored can no longer be (your personal financial cliff), the relatives you actually enjoy seeing have gone back home, and the “doldrums” of work and real life are back, in full force. There is even a medical term that can be applied; seasonal affective disorder.

There are a few mechanisms to cope with these Christmas Blues. I have previously blogged on dealing with stress by keeping a routine, adding some form of physical fitness and making your bed everyday, these continue to be applicable.  However, the Christmas Blues can be counteracted with a few other techniques, which also happen to be appropriate if you are dealing with or anticipate dealing with family law issues.

  • Get a financial check-up.  Meet with your financial advisor or CPA.  Hire one if you don’t have one.  You may think you don’t have a need or do not have enough assets to warrant it, however knowing what you have, where it goes and what to do with it helps regardless of your situation.
  • Get a medical check-up.  This is almost as unpopular as going to the dentist, but do it anyway.  Knowing what’s going on with your health is important and can head off future issues. I know you’re busy and feel fine.  Do it anyway.
  • Get a spiritual check-up.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why is their so much illness and tragedy in the world?  I do not have all of the answers, but these are common questions.  Being centered, be it through your church, other place of worship or out in the woods, helps you cope with life’s unanswered questions.

These are not earth shattering, though may be annoying or hard to schedule.  Do it anyway.  You will not regret it.

Matthew is a divorce attorney, food blogger, and Mississippian, none of which he apologizes for.  Follow the @ http://www.BowTieLawyer.ms.

You may contact the Firm at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms.

BowTieLawyer’s Top Rated Posts of 2012 (and a few of my favorites)

Below are the Top Rated posts for BowTieLawyer for 2012 and a few of my favorites.  Thank you for viewing this blog, posting comments and sharing.  I think this is a worthwhile blog and I enjoy doing it.

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I began on August 14, 2012, blogging about Family Law issues and whatever else I felt like.  I have had about 2,500 views, over 53 new blogs, viewers from 27 countries and numerous comments, likes and shares.  I am looking forward to continuing in 2013 and welcome your blog ideas or requests.  Leave a comment or send an email;  Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.

Also, please check out my Law Firm’s site at www.TLFfamilylaw.com.

TOP 5 POSTS FOR 2012

And a few of my Favorites;

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

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

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