Tag Archives: desertion

Fault Grounds for Divorce in Mississippi: Updated!

The Mississippi Legislature amended the Fault Grounds for divorce last term to include spousal domestic violence and tweaked the corroboration requirement. The current Fault Grounds for Divorce are below. You only need one.


§ 93-5-1. Causes for divorce

  • Divorces from the bonds of matrimony may be decreed to the injured party for any one or more of the following twelve (12) causes:
    • First.  Natural impotency.
    • Second.  Adultery, unless it should appear that 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.
    • Third.  Being Sentenced to any Penitentiary, and not pardoned before being sent there.
    • Fourth.  Willful, Continued and Obstinate Desertion for the space of one (1) year.
    • Fifth.  Habitual Drunkenness.
    • Sixth.  Habitual and Excessive use of Opium, Morphine or other like Drug.
    • Seventh.  Habitual Cruel and Inhuman Treatment, including Spousal Domestic Abuse.

   Spousal Domestic Abuse may be established through the reliable testimony of a single credible witness, who may be the injured party, and includes, but is not limited to:

   That the injured party’s spouse attempted to cause, or purposely, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to the injured party, or that the injured party’s spouse attempted by physical menace to put the injured party in fear of imminent serious bodily harm; or

   That the injured party’s spouse engaged in a pattern of behavior against the injured party of threats or intimidation, emotional or verbal abuse, forced isolation, sexual extortion or sexual abuse, or stalking or aggravated stalking as defined in Section 97-3-107, if the pattern of behavior rises above the level of unkindness or rudeness or incompatibility or want of affection.

  • Eighth.  Having Mental Illness or an intellectual disability at the time of marriage, if the party complaining did not know of that infirmity.
  • Ninth.  Marriage to some other Person at the time of the pretended marriage between the parties.
  • Tenth.  Pregnancy of the wife by another Person at the time of the marriage, if the husband did not know of the pregnancy.
  • Eleventh.  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.
  • Twelfth.  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 complete description).

Abandoned, Deserted, Left…

Desertion is one spouse’s willful abandonment of the marriage for at least 1 year without consent, just cause, excuse, or intention to return.

arztsamui /freedigitalphotos.net

More commonly called abandonment, being left or just plain dumped, desertion is more than just a fight he or she leaving for the weekend.  It has to be for 1 year.  That is 365 days!  Also, the party that did not leave, cannot be materially at fault for the other person leaving.  This means you cannot kick him out, then sue for divorce, with no other intervening events.

Desertion can also occur even with no one leaving the house.  The “deserted” spouse must demonstrate that he/she did not consent to the “leaving of the relationship” and that a willingness to renew the relationship was refused by the deserting partner. However, if the deserting spouse makes a good faith offer to return and the other spouse then refuses, the refusing party could become the deserter.

Finally, there is a concept known as “constructive desertion.”  This occurs when the conduct of one spouse is so bad that it forces the other party to leave.  The above requirements still apply as far as the timing and that it could be prevented by a good faith offer of reconciliation.

Desertion is a viable fault ground for divorce, but it must be proven to the satisfaction of the Court and can devolve into a “he said, she said.”  Also, just because one spouse leaves it does not mean the other spouse gets all the property.  If the Court awards a divorce then a property split will also be done.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Attorney in Hinds County, Mississippi and if you’ve been left high and dry it may be time to get down and dirty.

Follow the blog: #BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law case or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms