Mississippi considers legislation to make common sense changes to Family Law.
Pending before the Senate is an Act to amend MCA SECTION 93-5-1, to delete the requirement of “WILLFUL AND OBSTINATE” from the ground of desertion and to provide an additional ground when the “COURT FINDS THERE HAS BEEN AN IRRETRIEVABLE BREAKDOWN OF THE MARRIAGE AND THAT FURTHER ATTEMPTS AT RECONCILIATION ARE IMPRACTICAL OR FUTILE AND NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE PARTIES OR FAMILY…”
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