Tag Archives: Adultery

Deposition Imposition; What is a Deposition?

Depositions are routinely taken in lawsuits, and are common in family law cases.  A deposition is a part of the “discovery” process where the parties or a witness are asked questions, under oath, outside of Court, so that the attorney will know what they will say when in Court.  You have heard the old maxim that an attorney should never ask a question that he doesn’t know the answer to, well the deposition is the mechanism where you can ask that question.  A wide variety of questions may be asked in the depositions even those that likely would not be relevant in Court.

Depositions are usually at the attorney’s office. The attorneys, the parties and a Court reporter are typically the only persons in attendance.  Depositions are transcribed and may be videotaped.

Questions about the witnesses education, work, finances and efforts with regards to the children are all fair game.  The dirty details of fault are also fair game. Naming names and being specific are part of the process too.  Depositions are a tool to gain information as well as pin witnesses or parties down on what their “story” is so that it does not “change” later.

I had an instance where I took the father’s deposition in a custody modification case. Both parties had remarried.  Step-parents always have a bull’s eye on their backs in custody modification cases. I made sure and asked the father several times and different ways if he had any issues with step-dad.  The answer was “No.”  Well, it took several months to get to trial. At trial the father tried to change his tune.  He attempted to say he had serious issues with step-dad and had for as long as he had been in the picture. I asked the father if recalled his deposition. He stuttered. I showed him the specific page and questions asked. He said he must have forgotten about the serious issues at the time of the deposition. Right.  He backed off on his assertions and the deposition “saved” the day.

Objections are rare in family law depositions, or at least less common than in trial.  They are typically limited to the “form of the question,” being made to preserve the right to object in the future, but the deponent usually still answers the question.  Questions regarding crimes, however, can be objected to and those are usually not answered – with the deponent pleading the 5th.  The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives all persons the right to not incriminate themselves.  How does this come into play in family law? Adultery is a crime in Mississippi (blogged previously).

The bottom line in depositions is, while they are nerve wracking for the deponent, ultimately you are just answering questions and your job is to tell the truth and rely on your attorney.

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Arrested & Divorced; Just Say No!

Everyone knows that Adultery is a fault ground for divorce in Mississippi. Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse with a  person of the opposite sex, not your spouse. It also must be uncondoned, which means legally forgiven by the other spouse, and it cannot have been committed in collusion with the other spouse just to gain a divorce. MCA § 93-5-1.

However, Adultery may also be considered crime!

§ 97-29-1. Adultery and fornication; unlawful cohabitation 

If any man and woman shall unlawfully cohabit, whether in adultery or fornication, they shall be fined in any sum not more than five hundred dollars each, and imprisoned in the county jail not more than six months; and it shall not be necessary, to constitute the offense, that the parties shall dwell together publicly as husband and wife, but it may be proved by circumstances which show habitual sexual intercourse.

So in addition to having a divorce granted against the offending party they could also be arrested and prosecuted and face a $500.00 fine and/or up to 6 months in the county jail. And that may not even be the worst of it with the potential for an Alienation of Affection lawsuit out there. (It’s  actionable to sue someone for the breakdown of your marriage, a blog for another day).

In the words of Nancy Reagan, “Just Say No!”

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Top 12 Fault Grounds for Divorce in Mississippi

MCA § 93-5-1 lists and defines the “grounds” for a fault based Divorce in Mississippi.

A divorce may be awarded based upon;

1). Natural impotency.

2). Adultery.

Unless it was committed by collusion of the parties for the purpose of procuring a divorce, or unless the parties cohabited after a knowledge by complainant of the adultery, which is Condonation (or legal forgiveness).

 3). Incarceration.  Being sentenced to any penitentiary, and not pardoned before being sent there.

4).  Abandonment.  Willful, continued and obstinate desertion for the space of one (1) year.

 5). Habitual drunkenness.


  6). Habitual Drug Use.  Habitual and excessive use of opium, morphine or other like drug.

7). Cruelty.  Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.

 8). Idiocy.  Having mental illness or an intellectual disability at the time of marriage, if the party complaining did not know of that infirmity.

 9). Bigamy.  Marriage to some other person at the time of the pretended marriage between the parties.

10). Pregnancy of the wife by another person at the time of the marriage, if the husband did not know of the pregnancy.

 11). Incest.  Either party may have a divorce if they are related to each other within the degrees of kindred between whom marriage is prohibited by law.

12).  Insanity.   Incurable mental illness. However, no divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the party with mental illness has been under regular treatment for mental illness and causes thereof, confined in an institution for persons with mental illness for a period of at least three (3) years immediately preceding the commencement of the action…(see statute for additional language).

These are the grounds for Divorce in Mississippi.  These must be proven through testimony, evidence and corroborated in order to be awarded a Divorce by Chancery Courts in Mississippi.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and knows a thing or two about fault grounds for divorce in Mississippi.

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