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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.

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§ 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).

4 of the “Biggest” Grounds for Divorce; And the rest of the FAULT grounds too…

Approximately half of all marriages end in divorce.

Stuart Miles /freedigitalphotos.net

In Mississippi, parties are limited to the reasons that they can get a divorce based on FAULT.  Mississippi Code § 93-5-1 lists the Causes for Divorce, and below they are listed in order as most often plead; 

#1.  Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.

#2.  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 knowledge by complainant of the adultery.

#3.  Habitual drunkenness.
 
#4.  Habitual and excessive use of opium, morphine or other like Drug(s).

Lesser plead, but still valid Grounds for Divorce include;
 
#5.  Desertion, Willful, continued and obstinate  for the space of one (1) year.

#6.  Sentenced to any Penitentiary, and not pardoned before being sent there.
 
#7.  Having Mental Illness or an intellectual disability at the time of marriage, if the party complaining did not know of that infirmity.
 
#8.  Bigamy, Marriage to some other person at the time of the pretended marriage between the parties.
 
#9.  Pregnancy of the wife by another person at the time of the marriage, if the husband did not know of the pregnancy.
 
#10.  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.
 
#11.  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, confined in an institution for a period of at least three (3) years immediately preceding the commencement of the action.

#12.  Natural impotency.

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

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Drugs, Sex & Rock-n-Roll…No, Just DRUGS.

Drugs, it seems, are back on the scene in a big way.  Habitual Drug use is a ground for divorce.  Drug use can be a bar to custody.  Drug abuse is a Crime and can lead to other troubles.

Baitong333/freedigital photos.net

It’s more and more common for parties in family law cases to be drug tested.  Urine, hair follicles, blood and even finger nails can be tested for drug use.  Depending on the test, results can show drugs or alcohol in your system from 2 days ago up to 90 days ago.  And testing “Hot” is not a good thing.

In your Family Law case the Court will put a lot of weight in a Failed Drug test when determining custody, visitation and credibility.  While a Failed Drug test does not guaranty you will lose custody, it certainly does not help.  It also can matter what type of drugs, how recent and quantities that the test results show.

Use, whether it is “recreational,” “just once” or “I never inhaled” can and will be used against you.  Drug use can also be an element of child neglect/abuse.

Once, I was discussing visitation rights with a non-custodial parent.  I made the comment, “Well, as long as you did not have a meth lab in the garage you have nothing to worry about.”  The response, “What if I did?”  “That’s going to be a problem…

Now, all is not lost if you have used drugs or are using drugs, IF you STOP!  Court’s like to see people “get their act together” “turn their life around” and “be productive members of society.”  You can see your kids and you may even get or regain custody if you are doing all the right things.

Matthew Thompson is an Adjunct Professor teaching Domestic Relations and a Divorce Attorney.  In the words of Nancy Reagan, “JUST SAY NO!”

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the websiteThompson Law FirmYou may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms