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.
- 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).
Annulment is the process of revoking your marriage. It is a legal mechanism that dissolves the marriage by legally undoing it, as if you were never married. Annulment differs from divorce.
- Annulment results in you being able to claim, truthfully, that you were never legally married. It erases the marriage.
Annulments are rare and only granted on a limited basis. Mississippi law provides for annulment via MCA 93-7-1, et seq. The statute allows for annulment in all instances of incest or bigamy with no time limitations for seeking the annulment. In fact, in these circumstances the marriage would be void. Also, incest and bigamy are grounds for divorce, so you could take your pick between seeking an annulment or divorce.
Annulment is allowed if one of the following was in existence at the time of the marriage ceremony;
- incest (raised at any time)
- bigamy (raised at any time)
- incurable impotency
- mental illness or incompetency (must be sought within 6 months of marriage)
- failure to comply with licensure requirements AND no cohabitation
- lack of understanding or want of age (not old enough to consent), or due to fraud or force (again w/i 6 months of marriage)
- pregnancy of wife by another and husband did not know (w/i 6 months of marriage)
These are the grounds for annulment and if you don’t fall into one of these categories annulment is not an option. I have had numerous calls of persons married for weeks, or months who want to seek an annulment because they made a mistake. Mistake is not a ground for annulment.
**It should be noted that a legal annulment differs from a religious annulment. You can have one without the other and they have no bearing on one another. So is an annulment right for you? You better act quickly and know that in most instances it is not.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney and can help you erase your marriage mistake.
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You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.