Tag Archives: fault grounds

Don’t be Cruel.

Elvis sang it well. “Don’t be cruel…”

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Mississippi law was recently changed to specifically include spousal domestic abuse as a fault ground within the already existing habitual cruel and inhuman treatment fault ground. Below is the statute.

Miss. Code Ann. § 93-5-1
§ 93-5-1. Causes allowed

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.

This change is primarily significant for a few reasons. It changed the corroboration requirement. Previously it required testimony and/or evidence not only from the victim but also from another witness or source, such as a third-party or the admission of police or medical records. Now, if the Judge finds the victim/witness credible the Court may grant the award of a fault based divorce.

Additionally, the statute specifically provides for a fault based divorce to be granted based on abuse other than physical, including emotional, verbal, sexual, and stalking behavior.

These are significant and welcomed changes in Mississippi law. More info on fault grounds can be read here.

Matthew Thompson is a divorce attorney in Mississippi. Only two states in the Country still require fault grounds for a divorce if the parties cannot agree to all issues; Mississippi and South Dakota.

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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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