Tag Archives: divorce

Sometimes You’re Just Not Ready…

Family law is tough. It is tough to go through, deal with, and be involved in.

It can also be unfair. But wait, the Judge has to be fair, right? Yes, but the Judge’s definition of fair and yours will be different.

Also, the whole circumstance may be unfair. You can live your best life and still find yourself in the divorce attorney’s office.

The handful of times that I have seen even good results feel bad is when one party is just not ready. They did not want a divorce. They did not want to be in my office. And, they did not do anything (or any one thing) to result in needing a divorce.

These are often the hardest circumstances. The client may be right. This may all be unfair, but it nonetheless is happening.

So what do you do if you realize it’s too soon and you’re not ready? Get an experienced lawyer. Confer with experts; a counselor, a CPA or financial planner, your pastor, your trusted family and friends.

Get prepared and be intentional, even if you don’t want to.

Matthew Thompson is a child custody and divorce lawyer in Mississippi and knows when it’s too soon. However, the law doesn’t always allow for the mental processing necessary for all clients.

Womp Womp – Mississippi Says No Common Sense Change for Family Law

Mississippi SENATE BILL NO. 2644 proposed common sense changes to divorce laws. The legislation met a common fate of most proposed changes to bring MS in line with 48 other states. IT DIED.

Description: Divorce; authorize where marriage is irretrievably broken.
Disposition:    Dead

The proposal would have allowed for a basis for divorce if parties had been actually separated for over 1-year and would have allowed the Chancellor to grant a divorce if he/she was convinced that the marriage was irretrievably broken.

That is all that was proposed. It failed. Again.

Matthew Thompson is a divorce/family law attorney and still supports common sense changes to family law in Mississippi, as he has for 18-years.

Mississippi Considers Irretrievable Breakdown…Again.

Mississippi considers legislation to make common sense changes to Family Law.


This proposal is significant because it would allow for a divorce if the parties have been separated for over a year, regardless of the reason and additionally would allow the Court to divorce a couple if the Court was convinced the marriage was over and beyond repair, regardless if other fault grounds existed. These are just common sense changes.

These changes would bring Mississippi closer in line with 48 other states with regards to divorce. While still not a true no-fault provision, this allows for the possibility of relief in most cases when it was previously not. What do you mean by that, you ask? Financial/divorce blackmail is legal in Mississippi under its current law.

Mississippi does NOT have a no-fault divorce option. Either you have fault grounds or an agreement to all issues between you and your spouse and if you have neither of those, you cannot get a divorce in Mississippi.

These changes, or something similar, are kicked around every year. Last year a blue-ribbon panel assembled by the legislature recommended changes and it didn’t happen. These are much needed and will actually help serve and protect families in Mississippi.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney in Mississippi and supports these changes. (601) 850-8000

Marriage in Mississippi- Until Death…Irretrievable Breakdown is Dead.

A proposed bill died a quiet death in committee yesterday, the same committee that helped in the drafting and promoting it. This bill had previously passed the Senate as well…

In November, I wrote about the “word on the street” of changes coming in Family Law in Mississippi. Last summer the Mississippi Legislature assembled a blue-ribbon panel of lawyers, judges, legislators, law professors and the like to assess some of Mississippi’s more difficult or out-of-the-main-stream family law laws.

This panel suggested multiple changes with child support/age of majority and adding a 13th ground for divorce- irretrievable breakdown. This change would bring Mississippi in line with approximately 48 other states.

Part of the reason for the blue-ribbon panel was to gain insight from the practitioners, judges and persons dealing with the families this would impact. The rumor mill was that this was a done deal, was much-needed and would alleviate what one supreme court justice described as “financial blackmail.”

Yoggi Berra said it first, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Senate Bill 2643 (Miss 2022) died in Committee on March 1, 2022, when it was referred to Judiciary A, by Speaker, Philip Gun.

“4   02/10 (S) Transmitted To House
   5   03/01 (H) Referred To Judiciary A
   6   03/01 (H) Died In Committee”

Unfortunately, we may never know all of the behind-the-scenes details on why this was studied, proposed, promoted, passed, referred and allowed to whither on the vine. But, it was a much needed change in Mississippi law and one that would do more to promote family harmony than anything else the Mississippi legislature could do.

This harkens back to 2017 when a legislator single-handedly killed attempts to add domestic violence as a specific element of a cruelty based divorce and allow for the victim’s testimony to be sufficient proof of such. Once the domestic violence provision was struck the firestorm that erupted caused an about-face of the legislator and the language reappeared in another bill…lets hope for some common sense and that history repeats itself.

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Divorce and Civil Defense Attorney and is routing for another Change of Heart!

Divorce is a Lonely Process

I was recently at a conference where the speaker, an attorney from Austin, TX, made this profound statement.

It struck a chord, as it is a very true statement…

Divorce is hard and when going through the depths of it, it can seem overwhelming. Your family, friends and neighbors may avoid you like the plague.

Sides are picked, lines drawn and sometimes what you think is a sure thing is not.

If you find yourself going through a divorce or about to, identify a good lawyer that can represent you, get a recommendation of a good counselor that can help deal with the emotions and drama, and strive to maintain your support system.

Matthew Thompson is a divorce and civil defense attorney and encourages you to have a support system when going through a divorce.

(601)850-8000 www.ThompsonAddison.com

Does it Take an Act of Congress to Get a Divorce…in Mississippi?

The Mississippi Constitution of 1817, Article VI, Section 17 , provided that “Divorces from the bonds of matrimony, shall not be granted but in cases provided for by law, by suit in Chancery; provided that no decree for divorce shall have effect until the same shall be sanctioned by two-thirds of both branches of the General Assembly.”

At the time Mississippi became a state it took a vote by 2/3 of the legislature to get a divorce, after a Judge determined you had grounds for divorce.

This requirement for legislative approval was removed in 1869 and likewise did not reappear in the 1890 Mississippi, the state’s current Constitution.

So, no, it does not take an act of the legislature to get a divorce…anymore, but it can still be difficult and possibly impossible in Mississippi without provable fault grounds.

Matthew Thompson is a divorce and civil litigation attorney in Mississippi.

Somebody can always do it cheaper…is that better?

Cheaper is NOT always better.

Everyone wants a good deal, myself included. However, often in life you get what you pay for!

We’ve all seen the advertisement for the $500 divorce. That could be a really good deal if everything is agreed, it’s just drafting papers and sending for entry.

But, is it a good deal when it doesn’t work? Is it a good deal when it does work, but you weren’t advised of your rights. You did not know about all of the financial and equitable relief you could have gotten.

I’ve seen agreements where the parties agreed to maintain a million dollar whole life insurance policies. They had no idea what that meant or what expense that really involved.

I’ve seen agreements that have not included the correct child support and included terms so onerous a Court would never order it otherwise.

My advice is this, if you spent more than $500 to get married, plan on spending more than $500 to get divorced.

Matthew Thompson is a civil litigation attorney in Mississippi.

Divorce Court vs. Criminal Court

Sometimes divorcing parties act like criminals, but Divorce Court is NOT Criminal Court (typically).

Divorce court, a.k.a. Chancery Court, is a civil court. The Court’s function is to legally divorce parties that are entitled to be divorced and divide property. The Court has the authority to deal with and punish conduct that is violative of its Orders or disruptive conduct that occurs directly in its presence. Other than those instances it is not a punitive Court. You typically are not punished for marital fault…

Criminal court, which can be Circuit, County, Municipal, or Justice, among others, can punish. These Courts have prosecutors whose job is to prove the accused committed a crime/violated a law. The Judge or a jury determines if the matter was proven and a punishment, including; incarceration, fines, and other remedies.

However, sometimes these can relate or overlap. Conduct that could serve as grounds for divorce, such as domestic violence, is also a crime. The Court’s are independent of one another and you can be punished in Criminal Court and divorced in Chancery Court over the same facts.

Interestingly, your right to plead the fifth, invoking the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution can be done in both Courts. While it cannot be used against you in Criminal Court, it can be used to make an adverse inference in Chancery Court. So, if you are accused of adultery/habitual fornication in Criminal Court, which IS a crime in Mississippi, you may invoke the fifth and the prosecutor must prove a violation of the law by beyond a reasonable doubt, however in Divorce Court, while you may invoke the fifth, the Court can treat that as an adverse inference/admission and could find such to be enough to rise to clear and convincing evidence of adultery. Confused yet?

Divorce Court and Criminal Court are different animals, with different standards and different outcomes. However, all are serious and your rights may be infringed if the Court determines they should be.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Court lawyer and encourages those charged with a crime to confer with an experienced Criminal Defense attorney.