What You Need to Know About Fault-Based Divorce in Mississippi
There are essentially two ways you can obtain a divorce in Mississippi – if you have a reason or if you agree. Seeking to get divorced based on a legally recognized “reason” is at its essence a fault-based divorce. A fault-based divorce is expensive — based on both the emotional investment and the investment of time, money and energy. Unfortunately, a fault-based divorce is often times the best way to start the process, even if you may end up agreeing to a no-fault settlement agreement.
While there are as many reasons to get divorced as there are people who suffer through the process, there are only a few common reasons for a divorce defined by law, and still fewer which are commonly pled in divorce litigation. A fault-based divorce in Mississippi is a lawsuit basically like any other. It starts with filing a Complaint and it technically ends in a trial before an elected Judge called a Chancellor. However, one of the many problems with the contested route for divorce is a trial may not be the end. Post-trial briefs and motions can be as time consuming as the process which led to the trial in the first place. Moreover, it is possible for the appellate courts to send the case back to trial for more fact finding, and afterwards you wait around for their opinion for close to a year. Worse, an appellate court can overturn a divorce and render people that have not cohabited in years married again. I repeat—an appellate court can ”remarry” you, even if you married someone else in the interim.
The good news is at anytime while traveling on the course of a contested divorce, you can withdraw from the litigation process and conclude your divorce through a negotiated agreement. You can also agree to some things and leave other things for the judge to decide. Conversely, if you are traveling down the path of cooperation or agreement and negotiations break down, you can change directions and conclude the divorce on a completely or partly contested basis. You can even go from an uncontested divorce to a contested divorce and back to an uncontested divorce. Are you confused yet?
Know this — a fault based divorce is aggressive. Essentially, you seek to prove you have a reason to get a divorce. Sometimes proceeding with a fault-based divorce is based upon the principal. Sometimes you have no choice but to proceed on a contested basis if there are pressing financial circumstances or issues with the children. Regardless your reason, for a divorce to be granted on a fault basis in Mississippi, there must be a hearing in open court.