Same-Sex Divorce in Mississippi

Understanding the laws affecting non-traditional families seeking dissolution

The same U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land, has also made it possible for gay couples who were married in other states to divorce in their home state of Mississippi. Now, those same sex couples who have been waiting for the right to divorce, which comes along with marriage equality, can choose either a fault-based divorce or irreconcilable differences.

There is a residency requirement prior to filing for divorce in Mississippi that at least one of the parties must be a resident of the state for at least six months prior to filing a complaint for divorce.

Irreconcilable differences in Mississippi divorce

Irreconcilable differences is an agreed divorce where both parties agree that the marriage is broken beyond repair. Both parties want the divorce.  Further, both will participate to some degree in determining how they will divide their marital property; decide child custody and support; and decide if spousal support is appropriate.

The parties can come to an agreement on all of the issues in question, or if they are unable to come to an agreement on their own, the court will issue a decision for them. There is a statutory waiting period for irreconcilable differences divorce of 60 days from the time the complaint for divorce is filed.

Mississippi divorce under fault-based grounds

Under fault-based grounds, one party alleges marital misconduct on the part of the other spouse, and serves that spouse with a complaint for divorce. In Mississippi there are 12 grounds for which a fault-based divorce can be sought which include things like desertion, adultery and cruel and inhuman treatment.

Child custody concerns for same-sex divorce in Mississippi

Just as in any divorce case where the issue of child custody must be decided, the primary concern of the Chancery court judge is the question, “What is in the best interest of the child?” The decisions must also be based on the law, however, given the fact that same-sex marriage is still so new, the law is still catching up with the reality of the lives of same-sex couples. When a gay couple has a child with whom only one of the parents shares a biological link, there is the potential for a dispute as to the other parent’s standing in the custody case. If, however, the non-biological parent has adopted the child, it makes standing in a custody determination more straightforward.

Family services in Mississippi

Some LGBT couples will face additional challenges as they seek to end their marriages. Prompt and thorough family law services can help you and your partner move forward. Please call 662-342-1300, or fill out this contact form to speak with an attorney. How can we make your life better today?