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Gulfport Family Law Blog

What is fair and equitable property settlement?

When you and your spouse divorce, Mississippi law decrees that you divide your marital property between you in a manner that is fair and equitable to both of you. But what exactly does this mean? Does it mean that you must divide your marital assets strictly 50/50? No. As FindLaw explains, fair and equitable means different things to different couples depending on their personal situations.

What items should child support money go for?

If you are a parent who receives monthly child support payments from your child(ren)’s other parent, you may feel confused about what all you can use that money for. Naturally you must apend it for your child(ren)’s benefit, but how do you determine the specifics of that?

FindLaw assures you that you have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to choosing what to spend “your” child support money on. In addition, no one is looking over your shoulder, either literally or figuratively, to make sure you spend it “properly.”

What is manimony and how can it affect you?

If you have never before run across the word “manimony,” that is because it is a recently coined nickname for the spousal support payments that courts require some high-earning wives to pay to their former husbands after a divorce. While manimony only occurs in roughly 15% of today’s divorces, it nevertheless represents an idea whose time has definitely come. explains that the rise of manimony reflects the changing role of American women and the financial contributions they make to their families. For instance, as far back as 2013, women represented the major or sole breadwinner in 40% of American households. In addition, more American men, up to 2 million of them, choose to be the stay-at-home parent, content to let their wives bring home the bacon.

Getting a home ready for the adoption process

When families are beginning the process of adopting a child in Mississippi, one of the parts of the process they will need to complete is called a home study. The purpose of a home study is for social workers to verify that a potential adoptive family is able to provide an environment that is safe, functional, comfortable and loving before entrusting that family with a child. Families that adequately prepare for their home study have a much higher chance of passing that portion of the adoption process. 

Adequate preparation for a home study can only be achieved when people understand what needs to be done to prepare. According to, one thing that people should do is to childproof their home. This is especially important if families are looking to adopt children that are small and require significant supervision. People should make sure that all safety measures are considered including having adequate protection around their property and a home that meets city regulations for fire safety. If families have pets, they should have proper control of them and be able to demonstrate that their pet is not a risk to the safety of a child. 

Ways you can support your children during your divorce

Choosing to divorce your spouse in Mississippi often is preceded by a lot of difficult decisions that may take you time to feel comfortable making. Choices of this magnitude can seem especially daunting when you know that they will affect your children. Helping them through this challenging time should be one of your top priorities to help them cope in ways that are healthy, productive and effective. 

If your situation allows, it is imperative that you encourage an ongoing relationship between your children and your soon-to-be-ex. Even if your relationship with him or her was not compatible and you are better off pursuing a life apart, recognizing his or her value as a parent and acknowledging that your children still need both of their parents can help you to move past feelings of bitterness and anger. 

Custody disputes and the preferences of a teen

When a couple ends their marriage, many different hurdles surface. Some couples have difficulty due to financial issues, while others have an especially hard time dealing with custody matters. Moreover, child custody issues vary from one family to the next and there are certain factors that have a significant impact on how custody is awarded. For example, if a custody dispute is centered around a teenager, his or her preferences sometimes play an important role in how a court decides to award custody.

Courts take many factors into consideration with respect to making custody decisions that serve a child's best interests. The preferences of a child is one such factor and when a child is older, their ability to make these important decisions is often given more credence. However, the judge will likely review the child's rationale and their ability to make sound decisions that protect their interests. Unfortunately, child custody issues are tricky for many families, especially when teens are involved.

Do you need a QDRO?

When you get a divorce, the State of Mississippi requires that you and your spouse divide your marital assets between you in a fair and equitable manner. But you can divide some assets much more easily than others. For instance, advises that dividing up your respective retirement or pension plan benefits can prove tricky indeed.

If either you or your spouse has a retirement or pension plan covered by ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, you likely will need a qualified domestic relations order, a/k/a QDRO, in addition to your divorce decree. Keep in mind that while the divorce court issues the QDRO, the retirement or pension plan administrator must approve it. You should therefore contact the plan administrator as soon as possible so (s)he can send you a sample QDRO form that meets all of the plan’s terms and specifications.

What does Mississippi law say about custody and visitation?

As you contemplate divorce, your children’s custody and visitation arrangements likely form one of your major concerns. You will be glad to know that the State of Mississippi is just as concerned about your children as you are. Consequently, we have laws that address virtually every type of custody and the situations under which each prevail.

The Mississippi Bar Association explains that as in virtually all other states, Mississippi puts the best interests of the child first and foremost when determining custody and visitation. Having said that, however, Mississippi law contains the following three custody presumptions:

  1. Mississippi treats natural (biological) parents equally; neither the mother nor the father has any special custody rights or privileges.
  2. Mississippi favors joint custody whenever both parents request it.
  3. Mississippi does not grant custody to an abusive parent unless (s)he can successfully rebut this presumption.

How easy is it to adopt in Mississippi?

If you desire to adopt a child in Mississippi, you will be glad to know that adoption is fairly simple and straightforward in our state. Nor does Mississippi put a lot of restrictions on potential adoptive parents.

For instance, American Adoptions explains that no restrictions apply to any of the following:

  • Your marital status
  • Your sexual orientation
  • Your age, assuming you are an adult

Can I keep my dog after my divorce?

Any person who has a dog, cat or other pet knows just how special these animals can become and the large role a pet can play in their lives. More and more, pets are considered and treated as essential members of the family, not as pieces of property. One of the times this comes into play significantly is when a married couple gets a divorce. Several couples find themselves struggling with who will keep the dog or other pet after their marriage has fallen apart.

This trend is not new. The Pew Trusts explained that study conducted some six years ago by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found a jump by 22% in the number of divorce cases in which pet custody was a significant topic.