Fault-Based Divorces

Hancock and Harrison County Lawyer Experienced in Divorce Proceedings

Divorce can be one of the most painful and stressful experiences a person goes through in life. If you are in need of an experienced Hancock or Harrison County divorce attorney to help you through a divorce or other family law matter, please feel free to contact me at (228)342-8128, or using the contact form on the request consultation tab.

A Mississippi “fault-based” or “contested” divorce alleges marital misconduct or some other type of improper conduct. In Mississippi, there are twelve (12) grounds for seeking a fault-based divorce, including:

(1) Natural Impotency – a spouse may obtain a divorce in Mississippi by proving the defendant is “naturally impotent”.

(2) Adultery – In Mississippi adultery is defined as “voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with a person other than the offender’s spouse” One act of adultery is a ground for divorce. Adultery can be directly established in court by the spouse admitting to adultery, by the testimony of the paramour, or other direct evidence including audio and video recordings, testimony of friends, family, medical professionals, and/or private investigators, pictures, etc.

Condonation is a defense available to a claim of adultery in Mississippi. Under the defense of condonation, a spouse who resumes a sexual relationship after learning of the other’s adulterous affair has forgiven, or “condoned” the adultery. Condonation may bar the divorce based on adultery.

(3) Incarceration – Divorce may be granted to an individual whose spouse is incarcerated or even sentenced to a penitentiary without pardon prior to being incarcerated.

(4) Desertion – In Mississippi, a spouse’s “wilful, continued and obstinate desertion” for a period of a year is grounds for a divorce. Miss Code Ann. § 93-5-1 (2004).

Under this ground for divorce, the desertion must be continuous for a year or more. In other words, if the spouses temporarily reconcile, then the period before and after the reconciliation may not be combined to reach the one year period. However, the spouse must also intend to leave the marriage. For example, absence for a legitimate reason, i.e. to find work or to take care of a sick parent, is not desertion if the spouse plans to return to his or her family.

(5) Habitual drug use – A spouse may be entitled to a divorce based on the defendant’s “habitual” and “excessive” use of “opium, morphine or other like drugs.” Miss Code Ann. § 93-5-1 (2004). In Mississippi, “habitual” means customarily and frequently as opposed to occasional use while “excessive” means that the user is so addicted that he cannot control his appetite for drugs. “Other like drug” also requires that the drug produce an effect similar to that of opium or morphine making the user act irresponsibly.

(6) Habitual drunkenness – this ground is related to habitual drug use and allows a spouse to receive a divorce on proof that the other is habitually drunk. To qualify for a divorce under this ground, a plaintiff should show with the assistance of divorce lawyer Ed Edwards that a spouse was frequently intoxicated, that the drinking had an adverse effect on the marriage and that the improper conduct continued at the time the divorce complaint was filed.

(7) Habitual, cruel and inhuman treatment – This is one of the most common grounds for divorce in Mississippi, yet one of the toughest to prove. This ground allows a divorce where the defendant’s habitual cruel or inhuman conduct has an adverse impact on the physical and/or mental health of the innocent spouse.

Under this ground, one act of the defendant may not be sufficient to warrant a divorce, while looking at defendant’s conduct as a whole will support a divorce on the ground of habitual cruelty..

(8) Insanity at time of marriage – a divorce based on insanity or idiocy is available to the sane spouse if the condition existed at the time of the marriage and the plaintiff has no premarital knowledge of the spouse’s condition.

(9) Bigamy – An innocent spouse may have a ground for divorce based on the other’s “marriage to some other person at the time of the pretended marriage between the parties.” Miss Code Ann. § 93-5-1 (2004).

(10) Pregnancy of wife at the time of marriage – A husband may obtain a divorce on the ground of “pregnancy of the wife by another person at the time of the marriage, if the husband did not know of such pregnancy.” Miss Code Ann. § 93-5-1 (2004).

(11) Kinship within the prohibited degree – If a husband and wife are related in a degree designated by Mississippi law as incestuous, then either of them may obtain a divorce. This law includes “parents, grandparents, step-parents or step-grandparents, adoptive parents, siblings, half-siblings, aunt, uncle, first cousin, or his or her child’s widow or widower.” Miss Code Ann. § 93-1-1 (2004).

(12) Incurable Insanity – A spouse may obtain a divorce from a spouse that has been committed or confined to an institution for treatment of a mental illness for at least three years

Call (228)342-8128 to speak with an experienced divorce attorney in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi today.