Tag Archives: temporary

War Stories; A “Bump” in the Road

Client sabotages own case.  Story at eleven.

FACTS:  A mother lost custody, temporarily, due to being arrested for driving on a suspended license.  The father was given the child and while mom was in jail he filed a fault based divorce, sought custody and had her served.  Mom was finally released and began the process of regaining custody.  Mom filed an Answer and a claim for custody herself.

At a temporary hearing, which is a legal band-aid to address custody and finances, mom presented her case.  Upon being cross-examined there were numerous questions about alleged drug use.  Well, fortunately, mom had been thoroughly interviewed and prepared by her lawyer.  Her ONLY dirt was the suspended license.

Mom denied the drug allegations as laughable. Some of mom’s financial records were introduced that showed her in some shady parts of town at unseemly hours. This was shown through ATM transactions. However, mom was a waitress at night and just blew off some steam with some co-workers and got beer money. No harm, no foul.  Then mom was asked about a pipe that was “found” in her belongings.  “Not mine,” she quipped.

The Court was ready to rule. The Judge indicated that it seemed dad may have taken advantage of mom’s unfortunate circumstances. It came out that he may have tipped off law enforcement that she was driving on a suspended license. That Jerk!  But, “out of an abundance of caution” the Court decided to Order hair follicle drug tests. In fact, the Judge ordered that they were to report to get tested that day, before 5:00 p.m., to have the results furnished to the Court directly from the testing facility and then, assuming all clear, he would determine the custody and visitation for each.

On the way out of the Courtroom mom asked…

Can I delay the test?”    “What?!!!”    “I may have had a “‘bump...(of coke).'”

Nope. Not taking the test was not an option. Only the worst could be assumed from that. Mom took the test and failed, miserably.  A No Contact Order was entered. Dad passed. Mom lied.

Final Result:  A few weeks later the parties reconciled! Case dismissed.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody Attorney in Mississippi and while there may be bumps in the road it does not mean you should cause the bumps.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms


Separation Preparation…

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.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer