The legislature is in session. Saturday Night Live once referred to the Mississippi Legislature as the “hissing possums.”
But, today’s blog is about proposed legislation. Senate Bill 2342-(sb2342in).
This Bill’s intent is to add a 13th “fault ground” to Mississippi Law. This ground would provide for a divorce being granted upon 5 years of separation in fact. This means if you and your spouse are married, but not living together for five years or longer and at least one of you wants a divorce, you can get a divorce. It further provides that if there are minor children that the Chancellor may deny the divorce if a divorce is found to not be in the children’s best interests.
This is a much needed change in Mississippi law and a step in the right direction. Some may say 5 years is too long, but it is better than nothing and better than the law as it currently is.
“Dating during your divorce is akin to playing with matches and kerosene during a forest fire.” Matthew Thompson
It is commonly asked by clients, “Can I date others?” The short answer is NO. In Mississippi divorce there is no such thing as “legal separation.” You are married until you are divorced. That means either party could get “fault grounds” against the other at any time prior to the divorce being granted. In general however, it is just a bad idea.
Dating during your Divorce is a bad idea due to the following;
Dating involves feelings and emotions which can be misfiring at that point.
It involves money and expenses and Court’s look disfavorably of spending on boyfriends and girlfriends.
It could wreak havoc on a Custody case if that “new” person is either the wrong fit for your kids or a great fit, but it does not work out.
“Rebounds” tend to take a bad bounce.
It’s an easy target for your soon to be Ex and his attorney.
You may not really know the person you’re dating.
If you have to ask your attorney if it’s okay, it probably isn’t. Now, having said that, you are still allowed to have a “life.” You can go out in groups and otherwise socialize. Just be aware of your surroundings and actions because you never know who’s watching, waiting for you to mess up.
Matthew Thompson, a Divorce Attorney and Family Law Adj. Professor at MC Law, reminds you to do your best to prevent “forest fires!”!
Follow the blog: BowTieLawyerVisit the website: Thompson Law FirmYou may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms
First of all, there is no such thing as “Legal Separation” in Mississippi. The closest equivalent is a Temporary Order. This Order can either be the result of a temporary hearing or due to an agreement of the parties reduced to writing and approved by the Court. A temporary hearing and resulting Order, or Agreed Order, are usually done when a fault based divorce is on file with the Court.
A Temporary Order deals with short-term financial and custody/visitation issues, pending a final hearing. This is intended to be a “band-aid” on the situation and to maintain the status quo while trial preparations are happening.
A “Legal Separation,” while not recognized in MS law, is typically a different animal than a Temp. Order. Parties can separate in Mississippi, though not “officially”.
The thought behind the a Separation is to allow a cooling off period or a trial-run at no longer living as husband and wife and seeing how that works.
The problem with attempting it in MS is that it requires a great deal of trust between the parties as there is no Order, or teeth, if one party reneges on their agreement with regards to finances or custody. And typically there is not a great deal of trust between separating parties. However, a separation is a viable option in the tool belt of bringing calm to highly emotional domestic situations and can even lead to reconciliation in some circumstances.
What needs to be considered for separating, be it agreed or Court ordered?
The Children. What is the custody and visitation schedule? A Court would use the Albright factors to make a determination. If by agreement, the parties have a lot of leeway in what the arrangement is.
Financial Support. How much child support? How much spousal support? The Court requires each party to complete a financial statement and exchange it with the other party. Support awards are based on adjusted gross income and reasonable needs of the parties.
The House. Who stays in the home? Typically it’s the spouse that has the children, but regardless of who gets the house on a temporary basis, it does not mean that is how it will be at a final hearing.
The Bills. Who pays what? The house, utilities, school, cars, credit cards, etc… This is always a bone of contention.
Conduct During Separation. In Mississippi you are married until you are divorced. Even if you and your spouse have an “agreement” your spouse could still get grounds for divorce against you during a separation.
How Long is the Separation? When do you decide to try something else? This will be based on your specific facts and circumstances.
Matthew Thompson is a Litigation Attorney in Mississippi and can help you separate on temporary and permanent basis.