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How the outcome can be different in a contested divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2022 | Divorce |

When a married couple don’t get along and decide to go their separate ways, they have the freedom to dissolve the marriage in a simple and relatively quick way anywhere in the United States. All states allow either party to file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences, and in such cases, the other spouse cannot object.

There are a number of states including Mississippi, however, where one spouse may file grounds for ending the marriage, which is known as a fault divorce. Such a proceeding is more complex and more contentious when the other spouse objects or files counterclaims.

Contested and uncontested divorce in Mississippi

In Mississippi, the names for a fault-based and no-fault divorce are contested or uncontested divorce, respectfully. In an uncontested divorce, both parties must agree that they have irreconcilable differences, and a settlement agreement will outline the provisions for custody, parental time, alimony and support, and property division. The couple must be separated for 60 days before the proceeding can begin.

In a contested divorce, the filing party must prove that the other spouse behaved in a manner that contributed to ending the marriage. They must present evidence and witness testimony of the alleged behavior or activity. If the other spouse objects or files a counterclaim, they must present convincing evidence as well. In such cases, the courts may use comparative rectitude to resolve the matter, in which a ruling will decide which party is least at fault.

Grounds for divorce

In a contested divorce in Mississippi, a spouse will file a petition, citing possible grounds for divorce such as:

  • Adultery
  • Substance or alcohol abuse
  • Cruel or abusive treatment, including battery
  • Insanity
  • Incarceration

Some key differences in a fault-based divorce are that, unlike a no-fault divorce, the spouses do not need to live separately before filing, and property division and awards for alimony or support obligations may reflect the final outcome.

Some people think that filing grounds for divorce will speed up the process, but actually the opposite is true. Because a contested divorce is time-consuming and costly, it makes sense to seek a knowledgeable legal source before making a decision on how best to move forward.