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Gulfport Family Law Blog

Visitation rights: fixed visitation versus reasonable visitation

When one Mississippi parent is awarded physical custody of a child, it is very common for the other parent to be awarded visitation rights. Visitation is sometimes called parenting time. This is an apt description because it is an opportunity for parent and child to spend quality time together. Not all visitation plans are identical, however, and there are differing kinds of visitation that a parent may encounter.

One common child custody arrangement is a fixed visitation schedule. With a fixed visitation schedule, the parents will be provided with a schedule for the non-custodial parent to have visitation with the child. Very often the schedule will be imposed by a court. This arrangement has the advantage of reliability; each parent knows well in advance when and where visitation will happen. Not all fixed visitation schedules are very flexible, however, so parents with a fixed visitation schedule may have to structure their lives around the schedule.

Property division, military benefits and pensions

For any divorce proceeding involving a member of the armed services, one of the biggest assets at issue could be the pension of the service member, if they have one. Like non-military retirement plans, military pensions are subject to property division in a divorce. Military family law addresses this topic with the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. In this post, we will have a quick discussion of how this act governs the division of military pensions in a divorce.

Not all service members have pensions. For those who do, the act mandates a minimum threshold that must be met before the pension is eligible to be divided. The couple must have been married for at least 10 years before the pension in question can be divided. During this time, the service member must have performed at least 10 years of creditable military service. This rule is called the 10/10 rule.

What leads to divorce in Mississippi?

Traditionally, when a spouse files for divorce, that spouse will cite "grounds" - a reason - for the divorce. Depending on the specific circumstances of the divorce, one or more grounds may be available. Our readers should be aware of the various grounds that may be available for any specific divorce situation.

The first kind of divorce is called a "no-fault" divorce. In Mississippi, no-fault divorces are only available to couples who agree on the divorce and on some divorce particulars, such as child support, child custody, property division and alimony. In a no-fault divorce, the spouses can cite "irreconcilable differences" as the grounds for the divorce.

Getting the right child custody order

Parents in Mississippi and elsewhere understand what lengths a parent will go through to meet the needs of their child. While this is usually better accomplished in a two-parent household, parents going through the divorce process are still able to put their child first, ensuring their needs and interests are met with every decision made during dissolution. This usually begins by devising a strong, workable and fair child custody agreement.

At our law firm, we understand that it is extremely difficult going from parenting a child full-time to parenting a child half of the time or less. Nonetheless, we are aware of the realities of this legal process, noting that the court will utilize the "best interests of the child" standard in order to arrive at a suitable child custody arrangement. We are dedicated to guiding parents in the Gulfport area through this process, attempting to ensure that their goals and needs are also met.

The two kinds of joint custody that may be available

Parents in Mississippi who are going through the divorce or separation process may be keenly interested in one issue: child custody. People with children have probably heard that joint custody may be an option, but what is "joint custody"? There are actually two kinds of joint custody arrangements. One is fairly common, the other is less common.

The more commonly available joint custody option is joint "legal" custody. Legal custody does not necessarily refer to which parent the child lives with. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make long-term decisions about how the child will be reared. It is common for family law courts to award joint legal custody to the parents, so that each parent has a say in where the child goes to school, what religion the child will practice and so on. One parent may still be awarded "physical" custody - meaning the child primarily lives with that parent - even if the parents share legal custody.

What are the pros and cons of a prenuptial agreement?

Asking a Gulfport couple to think about a prenuptial agreement may seem like asking them to think about their eventual divorce, and thus prenuptial agreements are not usually thought of as a romantic topic of conversation. On the other hand, many couples know that they could benefit from a prenuptial agreement. So, what are the pros and cons of a prenuptial agreement?

First, there are advantages to a prenuptial agreement. Very often, one spouse may enter a marriage with a lot of debt, whether it be from student loans, medical bills, business loans or another source. A prenup can prevent the other spouse from having to take on some of this debt in case of a divorce. A prenup can also help to preserve one spouse's wealth so they can pass it on to their descendants and other worthy beneficiaries. As for a spouse who gives up a lucrative career to enter a marriage, that person could be compensated with a prenup if the marriage doesn't last.

Political dispute may have contributed to Scaramucci divorce

Politics has long been a realm of vigorous contention, both here in Mississippi and nationally. But, it seems to many people that the past few years have been remarkably fractious, with political arguments often cropping up at work and family gatherings. Although in many cases people end arguments by simply agreeing to disagree, there are other times when a political disagreement can have serious repercussions for a couple's relationship.

One example of political differences ending a marriage may be unfolding right now in the life of a recent member of the Trump Administration. Anthony Scaramucci recently became the communication director at the White House, but that only lasted for a few days. Mere days after he took the job, his wife, Deidre Ball, reportedly filed for divorce. An anonymous source apparently told a reporter that Ball felt that Scaramucci was too ambitious in pursuing his new job. Ball and Scaramucci have been married for three years and have two children, according to reports.

What are the steps for foster care adoption in Mississippi?

There are many children who are currently in foster care in Mississippi and in need of a permanent home where they can grow and thrive. There are many people in Mississippi who wish to give these children a home. However, it is important to have a basic understanding of how foster care adoption works.

First, prospective parents will need to call the foster/adoption hotline for information, and then submit an application. Second, an evaluation will take place in order to ascertain whether the prospective parents meet the minimum requirements for being an adoptive parent. Some requirements, among others, include: how old the prospective parents are; how long they have been married; and what their income is. After this, the prospective parents may be put on a waiting list.

The right approach to child custody issues

Among all of the highly contentious topics in divorce law and separation law, child custody is easily one of the most contentious. Child custody goes to the heart of the issues of who the child will grow up with, where the child will grow up and what kind of upbringing the child will have. Parents in Gulfport obviously have strong feelings regarding these issues. Children very often have strong feelings regarding these issues as well.

Not long ago, a previous post here detailed the story of two sisters who were the subject of a child custody dispute between their mother and their father. Despite the fact that the girls indicated they did not want to live with their father, he was granted full custody. They then allegedly ran away, were discovered over two years later living on a horse farm and their mother was charged with facilitating their disappearance. The family law court approved a plan to reunify the girls with their father, again over the objections of the girls.

What needs to happen in a military divorce in Mississippi?

Both federal and state laws govern military divorce. This raises the question of where a military divorce should happen. This is because different states have different divorce laws. Service members in Mississippi and their spouses should be aware that Mississippi may be the state where their divorce case could be filed, but, depending on the circumstances, the case could also be filed in another state under military family law.

Generally, in order for a service member or their spouse to file for divorce in a certain state, at least one of three things must be true. First, the state is where the filing spouse lives. Second, the state is where the service member is stationed. Or third, the state is where the service member claims legal residency.