Mississippi Divorce Laws

Filing for divorce is a highly emotional experience for many individuals. Most do not enter into marriage with divorce in their minds, but it often happens when a couple finds they can no longer live peaceably together. To file for divorce in Mississippi, you must first understand the state’s divorce laws. While an attorney can be an invaluable tool in this process, taking the time to learn a little on your own is also a good idea.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

In order to file for divorce in Mississippi, the spouse must be a resident of the state for at least six months. The divorce can be filed in the county in which either spouse resides.

Mississippi allows for no-fault divorce in cases of irreconcilable differences. Those who are going to file for a fault divorce must do so on one of the following grounds:

  • Impotence
  • Adultery
  • Incarceration
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Insanity lasting three years
  • Wife carrying someone else’s baby
  • Willful desertion for one year
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Spouse lacking mental capacity to agree to the divorce
  • Incest

Those who are members of the military and stationed in Mississippi meet the residency requirements, and therefore can file in the state after they have been stationed there for six months. They still must meet all of the military requirements for divorce under military family law, so using an attorney who is familiar with family law is a good idea.

Division of Property

Mississippi is a title property state. This means that each spouse retains the property that has his or her name on the title. However, the courts have some leniency when making decisions about this, as often the title method ends up dividing the property unfairly. Factors considered in making this determination may include:

  • Market value of the property
  • Financial stability of the spouses
  • Tax consequences
  • Contribution each individual made to the acquisition of the property

Child Custody

When children are involved in the family, the courts will look at the custody decision based on the child’s best interests. No specific parent or gender is favored over another, but rather the courts look at the child’s interests. It will consider the child’s wishes if the child is age 12 or older. In no-fault divorces, the courts will aim for joint custody as the custody arrangement.


Sometimes, spousal support is deemed necessary by the courts in divorce cases. This is determined on a case-by-case basis and may be either temporary or permanent. At all times, the courts strive to make the decision based on what is fair for both parties. Factors that the courts may consider include:

  • Income and expenses of each spouse
  • Health and any medical conditions
  • Needs and debt obligations
  • Custodial arrangement
  • The spouses’ ages
  • Standard of living set during the marriage
  • Tax ramifications
  • Marital fault or misconduct leading to the divorce
  • Dissipation of assets

In cases involving children, child support may be awarded. The Percentage of Income Formula is used to determine the support amount. This formula takes a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income and awards this as the child support amount. The spouse may also be required to obtain and maintain health insurance coverage for the children. In all instances, other factors can be considered to decide if additional or less support is necessary to fully care for the child’s needs and maintain a reasonable standard of living for the child.