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Gulfport Family Law Blog

We help Mississippi clients in family law court

If Mississippi residents were asked to list the top 10 stressful situations a person could be in, having to go to court would probably be near the top of many people's lists. This would likely be especially true for family law court, where issues such as child custody and property division are handled. It's good to be prepared for court; many people find that this reduces their stress levels.

Based on the experience of the staff of Maggio Law Firm, PC, we can provide some general tips to people looking to make the courtroom experience go more smoothly. We recommend that clients dress professionally for court. Dress for court the same way you would dress for a job interview. We also recommend showing respect for the judge. Always address the judge as "your honor," "sir" or "ma'am" when in a Mississippi courtroom. There are other recommendations that can vary with the case being presented.

What is the residency period for a Mississippi military divorce?

Military marriages face the same kinds of strain as civilian marriages, and often they face more strain. For this reason, many military marriages end in divorce. Many readers probably know that most states establish residency requirements within the state before a divorce may be filed there. It usually isn't possible to file for divorce immediately after entering the state. Usually a party must be a bona fide resident of the state for a certain number of months before filing.

How does this work for military personnel, however, where a move is often made by order of a superior officer instead of by the will of one or both spouses? Must a military member or their spouse wait the full residency period before filing for divorce? This blog post will briefly discuss how this process works in the state of Mississippi.

How does one appeal a divorce judgment in Mississippi?

Many people in Gulfport know that when you disagree with a decision made by a court, you can often appeal the decision to a higher court. This principle applies to divorce judgments as well as other legal rulings. This blog post will provide some basic information about appealing divorce judgments.

The first thing that should be pointed out is that it is unusual for an appeals court to reverse a judge's decision in a divorce. It is not completely unheard of, however, and a family law attorney may be able to provide information about whether a reversal is likely or not in a particular case.

Enforcing a Mississippi child support order in another state

In most Mississippi divorces involving minor children, the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay child support to the parent who has custody of the children. As long as the non-custodial parent remains current on his or her obligations, the arrangement works well. But what happens if the non-custodial parent decides to move out of Mississippi? Fortunately for custodial parents who find themselves in such situations, they can look for relief to a statute adopted by the Mississippi Legislature, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.

The UIFSA has been adopted by Mississippi and most of the other states to provide an efficient method of permitting custodial parents to enforce child support orders against non-custodial parents who have moved to another state. The statute applies to both support orders issued as the result of a divorce and support orders issued in paternity proceedings.

A Mississippi child custody primer

Divorce is full of thorny and emotional issues. This is why divorce is often such a contentious process for couples in Gulfport. Perhaps the most contentious issue for some going through a divorce is child custody. Child custody deals with the sensitive issues of where a child will live and who will have the power to make important decisions on behalf of the child. Although child custody is known as a divorce issue, it can also crop up when unmarried couples choose to separate.

In Mississippi, each parent has equal rights to the child. This means that judges consider other factors when deciding how much parenting time each parent should have. These factors include the health of the child, who was the primary caregiver before the divorce or separation, the sex of the child, each parent's willingness to care for the child, each parent's parenting skills, the emotional relationship between the parent and the child and each parent's moral fitness. There are other considerations as well. The judge's main concern when making custody determinations is the best interests of the child.

Divorce may have financial and other benefits for spouses

In Mississippi and across the country, divorce is often portrayed in a negative light. While the circumstances of a divorce can be unfortunate or even tragic, many of the consequences of a divorce can be positive for a Mississippi spouse. It is important to set the record straight so that Mississippi spouses have a more complete view of the pluses and minuses of divorce.

Not too long ago, we described some of the possible financial benefits of a divorce. For example, it may be easier to access money in a retirement account without a penalty if the account has gone through the property division process. Also, children of divorced parents may be eligible for more financial aid for college, and the spouse may need to get less input, or even no input, from the other spouse before making major financial decisions. Of course, the benefits of a divorce may be more than just financial.

Can a parent be jailed for a child support delinquency?

Gulfport parents know that the failure to pay child support can have consequences. A failure to pay can result in income withholding from the delinquent parent's paycheck as well as the suspension of driver's licenses and professional licenses held by the delinquent parent. Most people have also probably heard that the failure to pay child support can also result in jail time for the delinquent parent. This blog post will briefly discuss this issue.

It should be pointed out at the outset that jail time is not usually the preferred sanction for delinquent noncustodial parents. It is impossible for a parent to earn money if they are locked in jail. The purpose of the punishment of jail is to discourage parents from willfully failing to pay child support. By paying child support, a parent need not worry about going to jail for failure to pay.

The legal concerns of unmarried couples in Mississippi

Let's take a look this week at a subject that concerns many Gulfport couples who, for any number of reasons, are in a committed relationship but are not married. How does family law in Mississippi treat these unmarried couples?

For background, recall the Supreme Court's ruling in 2015 that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. Prior to that, many of these couples (and, indeed, some opposite-sex partnerships as well) would enter into a domestic partnership -- a term our readers have likely heard discussed in the media. In states that recognize them, domestic partnerships can help unmarried couples obtain some of the legal benefits of marriage.

Adhering to the requirements of a child custody agreement

There are a number of different arrangements and considerations for divorcing parents to understand regarding their children. Primary physical custody, as it sounds, means that a child will reside primarily with one parent. However, that parent does not necessarily have the right to make all decisions regarding the child's care and upbringing on his or her own. A child custody agreement will often spell out additional obligations, and disregarding them can mean serious legal trouble.

For example, a Midwestern mother had primary custody of her 9-year-old boy. The custody agreement included a requirement that the child be kept current on his vaccinations. However, when the time came, the mother refused to allow him to undergo vaccinations, citing religious and health concerns.

Divorce may help you financially

Generally, when people think of divorce, they picture the possibility of going into financial debt and losing a significant number of assets. However, this is not always the case. In fact, a divorce can actually have some financial benefits. If you have already decided to split from your spouse, consider the following.

If you have a retirement fund, you are generally penalized for early withdrawals. However, if you and your spouse reach a qualified domestic relations order as part of your divorce, you may take money out of your account without penalty. The money taken out of your account may give you some additional options to better your financial future. You should consult with your financial planner and attorney before making any moves, and make sure not to withdraw any money without a QDRO in place.