“No-fault” divorce does not exist in Mississippi. Here, you cannot get an irreconcilable differences divorce without your spouse’s agreement. Mississippi is one of only two states in the country (South Dakota being the other state) where both spouses must agree to get an irreconcilable differences divorce, which is often called a “no fault” divorce. This comes as a surprise to many seeking a divorce for the first time, and it is an important consideration to keep in mind when planning to divorce your spouse.
Terms like “irreconcilable differences” as well as “fault divorce” and “no-fault divorce” are often mentioned when discussing a divorce. Irreconcilable differences can be an appealing way to dissolve your marriage without a long, drawn-out court battle. However there are nuances to keep in mind.
It’s also why so many people end up coming to our firm after attempting to fill out forms or prepare divorce paperwork themselves! The law is quite easy to misinterpret or misunderstand, and someone who’s not familiar with the law in this area is going to make getting divorced a lot messier than they had planned and can cost themselves more money in the long run.
So please keep reading so that you can find an easier way to end this phase of your life.
The Grounds For An At-Fault Divorce
An irreconcilable differences divorce requires an agreement, but if your spouse caused the breakdown of the marriage, then you may have fault-based grounds for divorce, which is often called a “fault divorce”. Some of these grounds for divorce include:
How You Qualify For An Irreconcilable Differences Divorce In Mississippi
Like we said earlier in the intro, Mississippi divorce laws require that both spouses agree to the divorce. In at-fault divorces where circumstances like we mentioned before are apparent, you will likely be going to an oxford ms divorce lawyer without the other spouse’s agreement or consent and possibly without their knowledge you are seeking a divorce.
This is yet another reason why you shouldn’t just fill out forms and file for an uncontested divorce in Mississippi without the advice of an experienced attorney. We’ve seen the ads saying you can do this quickly for just a few hundred dollars, and unfortunately you will get what you pay for and may not even get divorced at all. However, if both spouses do agree and there’s no circumstances preventing them from qualifying for an irreconcilable differences divorce, then the rest of the process is pretty straight forward.
How A Mississippi Court Will Approve An Irreconcilable Differences Divorce
There are often disagreements about child custody, dividing assets, etc. These disagreements will not prevent you from qualifying for an irreconcilable differences divorce, however, the more issues that can be resolved and agreed upon without the Court ruling on them will end up costing you less in attorney’s fees and court costs. Again, these Mississippi chancery court forms are challenging to fill out, and can cost you more money (not to mention make the proceedings last longer).
When you and your spouse are in complete agreement over all issues in your divorce, then your attorney will submit a joint complaint for divorce and a divorce agreement (often called a property settlement agreement or PSA). Those have to be filed with the Chancery Court Clerk for 60 days. Once those 60 days have elapsed your attorney will prepare a final judgment of divorce and your divorce agreement will be attached to that divorce judgment. There are lots of details necessary to submit these documents properly and to the right person. Again, come see us and we’ll take care of these details for you.
When you and your spouse are not in complete agreement over all issues in your divorce, then your attorney will submit an additional document called a consent decree. This document tells the Court what issues you and your spouse do not have an agreement concerning, and it also tells the Court that you both agree that the Court can decide those issues for you both. After this is done a trial is held where the Court takes testimony, documents, and other evidence on these disputed issues before making a ruling.
Once all of the issues have been resolved by agreement or by the Court making a ruling, then a final judgment of divorce will be entered so long as 60 days have passed since your divorce papers were filed. This 60 day waiting period is required by law as a “cooling off period” in case spouses change their mind about divorcing one another.
If you have any remaining questions about Mississippi divorce laws or need some help from an experienced, compassionate Mississippi divorce lawyer, then please contact us today!