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Gulfport Family Law Blog

What should I know about Mississippi joint custody?

The best interests of the child are paramount in a Mississippi family law case. Part of that might be the court determining that the best option for the child's well-being is that the parents have joint custody.

To ensure that the parents understand the various aspects of a case, it is important to know the basics. That includes a specific grasp of what joint custody entails and under what circumstances a court will decide that it is the best option.

What is the law for no-fault and fault divorce in Mississippi?

There are important aspects of the law that should be understood when contemplating divorce. In most states, the divorce process is "no-fault." This means that the baseline will be that the couple has "irreconcilable differences" and nothing more needs to be said or shown to be granted a divorce. To use this designation, the couple must have resided in the state for a minimum of six months. This is a relatively easy way to get a divorce without contentious and extended disputes. The parties will usually agree on most issues and negotiate those that are more complex. After 60 days of the case being filed, the court reviews any agreement and can then grant the divorce. If there are still matters in dispute, the court can make decisions on how to settle them.

A more complicated way to get a divorce is a "fault" divorce. This happens when one spouse wants a divorce and the other contests it. To get a fault divorce, one of the following must be shown: there is natural impotency; adultery has taken place; the spouse was convicted and incarcerated; there was desertion for at least one year; the spouse is habitually drunk or abuses drugs; there has been cruel or inhuman treatment; the spouse was insane when they got married; there was a marriage already in place with another person; the bride was pregnant when the couple got married and the groom was not the father; incest had taken place; and there was incurable insanity.

Understanding the child support formula

When there is a divorce in Mississippi and children are involved, it is important to understand how child support will factor in with the case. Parents undoubtedly want what is best for their kids and that includes making certain they have everything they need to thrive. Medical coverage, clothes, a safe environment in which to live and more are critical.

Paying support for these issues is imperative, but there is often a disagreement as to how much the supporting parent must pay to the custodial parent. To make the process as smooth as possible, the state has a child support formula that it uses.

Does a civilian keep medical coverage in a military divorce?

When there is a military family in Mississippi that is getting a divorce, one of the main concerns after dealing with children, property division and support is whether the non-military member will still get certain benefits he or she received during the marriage. A key benefit is medical coverage. Having legal advice from a law firm experienced in military issues can be vital.

Since a non-service member will likely be confronted with seeking medical care if these benefits stop, it is imperative to know who gets to keep military medical care, how long it will last and what the basis of the determination is. The amount of time the military member - the sponsor - had in the service will be the main factor in the former spouse getting medical coverage through TRICARE. The time during which the couple was married must also coincide with that service.

Legal advice is imperative with Mississippi child support issues

In Mississippi, one of the most complicated aspects of a family law case is child support. Once the child custody and visitation rights are determined, it is imperative that the custodial parent receive a sufficient amount to provide the child with a safe and secure environment with all the basic needs being met. The goal is to serve the child's best interests. Undoubtedly, all parents will agree this is critical. Still, there can be disagreements related to child support. Having legal advice is vital for both sides.

There is a formula that the state has in place to determine child support, but there can be disputes and deviations as to how much is requested and ordered. With child support, the custodial parent must receive an amount that suits the child's educational, personal, medical and extracurricular needs. The amount will be based on the income of the parents.

How do irreconcilable differences impact my divorce?

There are many reasons for Mississippi residents to decide they should end their marriage and get a divorce. For many, however, there is no one specific issue in dispute. They will have certain problems that they cannot bridge and believe that it is preferable to move on. This can be referred to simply as irreconcilable differences. While this is a viable justification to get a divorce and the courts will allow it, it is important to understand the law before moving forward with a case. It is also beneficial to have legal advice.

There can be a divorce for irreconcilable differences if there is a joint complaint on the part of both spouses or a complaint in which the defendant was served with a process or there was an appearance by written waiver. Except in cases where there was a joint complaint, an appearance or a written waiver, the complaint must have been on file for 60 days prior to it being heard. The couple can be granted a divorce for irreconcilable differences unless it is contested or denied. If there is a contest or denial, the divorce can be granted if it is subject to cancellation or withdrawal.

Retirement accounts are a key part of property division

When couples get a divorce in Mississippi, property division is often at the forefront. This is frequently true with older couples - also referred to as "gray" divorces. Many might think about homes, automobiles, jewelry and other tangible items. For these couples, however, retirement savings and accounts will be critical to the process. These might have even greater value in the long term than other properties. There are steps that couples should take when dealing with this aspect of family law.

Being prepared for life after divorce means understanding what to do with retirement accounts before and during the divorce. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is crucial when there is a retirement plan that has been sponsored by an employer. People whose spouses have certain retirement plans, like a 401(k), can only receive a payout if there is a QDRO. The way in which it is written must align with the requirements of the account.

What are the maximum support percentages in a military divorce?

The military life is difficult and can be hard on families. For Mississippi residents who are in the military or are the spouse of a military member, divorce is, unfortunately, common. When there is a military divorce, there are the same concerns as a civilian divorce. Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, and child support are key family law matters to consider. Understanding various issues, such as the maximum percentage a military member can have deducted from his or her pay to pay this support, is imperative for the paying spouse and the receiving spouse.

For the paying spouse or parent, "the obligor," it will be 50% of the disposable income if it is proven that he or she provides greater than half the support for dependents apart from those in the ongoing case and there are no back payments - "arrearages" - owed. It will be 55% if there is proof that there is more than half the support to other dependents and there is an arrearage.

When might there be a deviation from the child support formula?

When a couple in Mississippi divorces and must deal with a child support determination, there are many factors that are considered when the amount is calculated. A child support formula is used in many cases. With that, the court will try to come to a fair amount for the custodial parent and the supporting parent. Still, not all cases are the same and those differences can make the situation more complex for everyone.

Understanding when there can be a deviation from the basic guidelines is an important part of achieving a fair resolution. Such factors as gross income, taxes, Social Security, retirement contributions and other children are considered with the child support amount. Another key is the number of children who will require support. When the court decides on the amount, it will check if deviations from the standard should be considered. There will be a deviation from the standard if the court finds that the guidelines are improper and unjust or if the non-custodial parent has an adjusted gross income that is less than $10,000 or surpasses $100,000.

How property is divided in Mississippi during divorce

Property division is one of the most common concerns couples have as they prepare to divorce. As a result, it is useful for them to be familiar with how property division is handled during divorce. It will help them prioritize their interests and be better prepared for what to expect from it. It can also help guide them to a property division settlement agreement both spouses can live with.

Mississippi follows equitable property division rules which means that the family law court will seek to divide the couple's property as fairly as possible between them during their divorce. Even though the property division process is focused on an equitable outcome, the process can be challenging and acrimonious as the divorcing couple works to divide the property and assets they have acquired during their marriage.