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Gulfport Family Law Blog

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.

What are the unique issues in a military divorce?

Many people in the Gulfport area are military service members. Although most people don't think of it, these service members are oftentimes subject to a different set of laws than civilians: military law. This can have an impact on divorce cases for service members. So, what are the unique issues in a military divorce?

Well, for starters, it is important to point out that the same issues will come up in a military divorce as they would in any other divorce, such as property division, alimony, child custody and child support. In the end, there aren't too many differences in the substantive issues that must be addressed. However, there are some procedural differences.

Solutions for a wide range of family law issues

Not many people expect to be involved in any type of court case in their lives. However, the reality is that family law problems can lead to legal cases in a wide range of circumstances. The adoption process, for example, is oftentimes a complicated legal matter, but one that hopefully ends in a happy situation. Other family law cases, such as divorce, can be complicated but may see the couple happier and better off when the case is resolved.

Finding solutions for family law issues isn't always easy, but if those involved keep an open mind and are open to creative steps, it can be done. In a divorce case, for example, the divorcing couple may be able to negotiate directly with one another to reach an out-of-court agreement that can be ratified by a family law court. Or, perhaps the couple can engage a third-party mediator to help them sort through their divorce issues. In most cases, courtroom litigation is the last option to consider.

The first step before filing for divorce? Get information

Some of our readers in Mississippi may be thinking about getting a divorce and are wondering where to start. Like any significant decision, it is crucial to get the right information. Although most people are familiar with many of the issues that come up in a divorce, each case will be unique because it is based on the particular facts of your own relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

For most people, the main topic they will need more information about regards the legalities of the process. A recent news article mentioned how important it is to have a good handle on a divorce case, and the possible issues that will arise. You may be familiar with scenes in movies or on television in which divorcing couples fight out their issues in a courtroom, but that isn't the reality for most people. There are other legal options for getting through the case, such as divorce mediation, for example.

The challenging issues when it comes to child support

Although Mississippi residents will face a multitude of issues in any given divorce case they are involved in, the issue of child support can cause years of friction between the soon-to-be ex-spouses. Or, if a couple was never married, but have children, child support can be the main source of contention between them from the very start. There are a number of challenging issues when it comes to child support in family law cases.

The first issue is to make sure the child support order is correct to begin with. Although it may seem like income and assets are just plugged into a formula to get a monthly child support amount that one parent must pay to the other, there is more to it than that. A judge may have a valid reason to deviate from the standard formula results.

Making the right choices in a child custody dispute

Of all the family law issues that might come up for a couple, child custody disputes can oftentimes be the most contentious. After all, parents in Mississippi always want what is best for their children, but the problem is that parents may not always agree on what is best. If a couple cannot reach an out-of-court agreement on a child custody plan, a courtroom battle may be inevitable.

However, if parents are able to make the right choices during a custody dispute, the right arrangement may be within their grasp. For starters, in almost every scenario, it is best for the child to have a relationship with both parents. That might mean that joint custody is the best option, affording the child time with each parent in their own environment, and input by both parents into what are the best choices for the child in terms of education, religious upbringing and extracurricular school activities, for example.

Crucial decisions in the adoption process

Many families in Gulfport, Mississippi, may, at some point, decide that they want to expand their family by adopting a child. Such an opportunity can change multiple lives at once, creating unique family dynamics but also creating a loving environment for many children. Adoption is a big step and there are many decisions that need to be considered in the process.

For starters, you must decide why you want to adopt a child to begin with. Perhaps a couple is not able to physically have their own children, so adoption is the only route. Or, perhaps a family sees an opportunity to bring a child into the family who may not have been in the best situation in life prior to the adoption. Whatever the reason to start the adoption process, it is crucial to ensure you are doing so for the right reasons.

What should your priorities be after the divorce is over?

A divorce in Mississippi can be a long, drawn-out process. But, even in divorce cases that progress relatively quickly, both spouses can be worn out, financially and emotionally, from the process. When it is all over, there is a temptation to just put the whole episode out of sight, out of mind. However, there are a number of post-divorce steps that many people need to take.

So, what should your priorities be after your divorce is final? In all likelihood, there are quite a few. For example, the divorce likely altered your health insurance coverage. Perhaps, during the marriage, you were covered by your spouse's plan. If so, it is time to get your own coverage. Or, alternatively, if your ex-spouse was covered on your health insurance plan, you will need to notify your insurance company of the change in circumstances.

Emotions shouldn't come between you and a divorce resolution

They say the process of a divorce can be one of the most life-defining experiences of a person's life. To initiation a dissolution of marriage process is literally initiating a process in which a person opts to end their marriage. This means the end of something old and the beginning of something new. Sometimes the truth of this reality can bring up a lot of emotions for both parties involved.

Emotions are normal and part of the spectrum of human reaction. However, it can happen that emotions can become a hindrance and get in the way of a person's end goal. Getting caught up in webs of emotions can cause a person to get distracted, to disengage or to otherwise become overwhelmed with any change. There is a way to push those emotions aside in order to move forward.

Change in income and child support amounts

When you're on a career path, there are sometimes diversions or unexpected events that can alter your course. When a person gets laid off or they have to take a temporary pay cut, it can really throw a wrench in their plans. It can also impact a parent's ability to meet the terms of their child support agreement.

One of the first things that a parent might think of when taking a pay cut or losing their job is how will they be able to pay their child support obligations. Of course, parents want to do everything in their power to ensure that they support their child. Financial support is a huge part of that. If a parent's income changes, they can petition the court to modify the original child support order.