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Gulfport Family Law Blog

Why might you be interested in a prenuptial agreement?

Before getting married, there are many things that the engaged couple may have on their list to accomplish. Much of it will be related to the wedding day or the honeymoon, however, there is another topic that should be discussed and considered. That topic has to do with finances and prenuptial agreements. A prenuptial agreement can be useful for many couples by sparking discussions about finances and determining what is expected of one another, even in terms of what to do if the marriage ends in divorce.

Prenuptial agreements can be drafted to include many topics. One that can be very important to soon-to-be-married couples is the separation of marital property and separate property. These things can be designated prior to marriage to ensure that the assets are mutually exclusive. It doesn't mean that these assets would change classifications in a divorce, however, it would ensure that there is no change in the event of a divorce.

Adoption laws in Mississippi

Thinking about adopting? Maybe it's something that's been on the table of discussion for a while and it's only natural that you'd continue with the official adoption process. Anyone can be adopted, but starting at 14 years old age, there must be consent on behalf of the adoptee. You may be wondering who can adopt in Mississippi.

According to the state of Mississippi, sexual orientation does not prohibit ground for adoption. However, same sex couples are not permitted to adopt. Only heterosexual married couples, or those who are unmarried. Making the decision to officially adopt a child (or an adult in cases of disability) is a huge emotional and financial decision. You likely have many questions about the process if you are thinking of adopting.

Don't lose sight of the best interests of the child

As a parent, we know all about the ultimate sacrifice. The love of a parent is like no other and you make sure your child experiences this every day. However, parents are still people, which means that they can make mistakes. That's why we cautiously remind all parents going through the child custody process to remember the golden rule. A child's best interests come first.

It can be easy to lose sight of this, being that your child's other parent is difficult to deal with. Or, the history between you could cause stress and leave a communication gap. However, the goal of the court when determining a child custody arrangement is to ensure that the best possible interests of the child are met. This means that parents have to put aside their personal bias and think of the child custody solution through their child's eyes.

Aspects of retirement could be impacted by divorce

Retirement is a dream of many that takes years of work and dedication to reach. Oftentimes, married people work together to create a nest egg for retirement. Questions often arise regarding how retirement will be affected when a married couple decides to divorce. Keep in mind that asset division is meant to be fair and equitable and this division includes retirement assets.

However, as most people know, taking money from a retirement account isn't typically ideal, as the whole point of these accounts is for the money to stay there and appreciate until a person is ready to retire. Because divorce rates for those over fifty have doubled since 1990, more questions pertaining to retirement and divorce are becoming relevant. Beyond retirement accounts like 401(k) and IRA, there are often questions about Social Security and even investments like the family home.

Why are child support amounts specifically determined?

For anyone who is a parent, they know that having children is a great joy. However, they also know that children are a great financial responsibility. When parents co-parent from separate households, the financial responsibility still falls on both parents even if the child is residing primarily in one household. Hence, child support can be enforced to determine the financial obligations of both parents.

Child support is the amount given to the main custodial parent from the child's other parent to help cover the child's living expenses. Child support is calculated based on a variety of factors, including a parent's income, the financial needs of the child and their standard of living. It's possible that the court may determine a parent's income in terms of their potential for earnings rather than their actual earnings.

Understanding all the issues when it comes to child custody

Each year in Mississippi thousands of former couples - whether they were married or not - go through the family law process to address child custody issues. In each of these cases, the parents may have different motivations and goals, but the family law court will always have the same goal: determining what is in the best interests of the child involved. Of course, that is a fairly subjective bar to meet, which can make child custody disputes quite complex.

For our readers who may be facing such a situation, it is important to understand all the potential issues when it comes to child custody in Mississippi. For starters, you'll need to know what the court will be attempting to decide. The issues usually include temporary or permanent child custody arrangements, as well as determining legal custody and physical custody.

Highest asset divorce ever to be finalized

By now, many of our readers in Mississippi know about the pending divorce involving Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, and his soon-to-be ex-wife. Many divorce cases involving celebrities and business leaders often garner significant media attention. But, of course, the Bezos divorce is getting a lot of attention because of the sheer amount of assets involved, which is undeniably the most ever involved in a divorce case.

According to recent reports, the Bezos divorce is soon to be finalized. As soon as the final documents are signed, the reports indicate that 4% of Amazon ownership - Jeff Bezos' company - will be transferred to his ex-wife. That percentage of Amazon ownership is said to be worth approximately $38 billion. It appears that the only reason the world will know about the final value involved in the divorce case is because certain documents need to be filed due to regulations promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates and monitors the change in holdings of such owners.

Young adults may be driving the divorce rate down

Some people in Gulfport may have heard the often-cited axiom that almost half of all marriages will end in divorce. However, the divorce rate has gone down 18% from 2008 to 2016. And, part of this decline could be due to those age 45 or younger.

There are several reasons why young adults may be less apt to divorce. Many choose to marry at a later age than their older counterparts did. Young adults want to establish their careers and be financially stable before tying the knot. They also may be more apt to want to enter a marriage that is based on love, friendship and the sharing of interests, instead of feeling pressured by society.

Unmarried couples and property division in Mississippi

Many people in the Gulfport area probably do not need to see statistics to realize that more and more people are living together, either prior to marriage or with no intention of ever marrying at all. As a result, there may be many couples in Mississippi who have been together for a number of years and have acquired property together. Some may even have joint bank accounts or own a home jointly.

Still, Mississippi law does not provide for special treatment for unmarried couples breaking up under these circumstances. In fact, it may even be difficult to get a court in this state to recognize an agreement between domestic partners about how they wish to see their property divvied up should they separate.

Are Mississippi's Child Support Guidelines absolute?

Like other states, Mississippi has Child Support Guidelines. These Guidelines provide a formula for judges in Mississippi to use when setting a dollar amount for support. Because one point of these Guidelines is to ensure that judges are consistent when it comes to ordering child support, the law creates a strong presumption that courts should follow them.

However, Mississippi judges are free to deviate from these Guidelines in a number of circumstances, so long as they explicitly justify their decisions for doing so. These circumstances apply when it would be unfair to strictly apply the state's Guidelines.