Divorce FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – DIVORCE 

How long will it take for my divorce to be final?

You must wait at least sixty (60) days after filing an irreconcilable differences divorce for your divorce to be final.

A divorce based on grounds or a divorce in which issues are contested will take from several months to a year or more to become final.  The time frame depends upon the Judge’s docket, what issues are contested and how much of a fight your spouse puts up.

What is the difference between physical custody and legal custody?

Physical custody is the where the child lives.  When you think of custody, physical custody is typically the type of custody you are thinking of.  Legal custody refers to decision making regarding the child and the upbringing of the child and allows you to obtain school, medical and other such documents.

How do I obtain custody of my child?

You and your spouse can agree on a custody arrangement.  If you are unable to reach an agreement, either spouse may petition the Court for custody.   A hearing will be held in which each parent puts on proof in accordance with the Albright Factors, the factors a Judge looks to in determining custody.  After the hearing, the Judge will determine which parent should receive custody based upon what is in the best interest of the child.

What are the Albright Factors?

The Albright Factors are factors that the Judge considers in determining which parent will receive custody of the child.  The Albright Factors are:

Can fathers obtain custody?

Yes, Mississippi has abolished the maternal preference and Mississippi law no longer favors the mother over the father in custody actions.  Both parents are on equal footing and whichever parent would be in the best interest of the child to have custody is the parent who is awarded physical custody.

Can a child determine which parent he or she wants to live with?

Mississippi law allows a child who is at least twelve (12) years old to tell the Judge which parent he or she wants to live with.  However, just because your child wants to live with you does not mean that you will automatically receive physical custody.  The child’s preference is just one (1) factor that the Judge considers in determining custody.  Ultimately, whichever parent is in the child’s best interest to have custody is the parent who will receive custody.

What is the typical visitation schedule?

Standard visitation is visitation every other weekend, four to six weeks in the summer and alternating holidays.

What is supervised visitation?

Supervised visitation means that the non-custodial parent’s visitation with the child must be supervised by some other individual.  The non-custodial parent may not spend time alone with the child.  Supervised visitation may also require that the non-custodial parent only visit with the child at a particular place.

If the non-custodial parent does not pay child support, do I still have to allow visitation?

Yes, once there is a court order outlining child support and visitation, visitation rights may not be denied to the non-custodial parent, even though the non-custodial parent is not paying child support.

How is child support determined?

The non-custodial parent will be required to pay a percentage of his or her adjusted gross income each month in child support.  The percentage that the non-custodial is determined by the number of children:

Number of Children Percentage of Gross Income
1 14%
2 20%
3 22%
4 24%
5+ 26%

 

How are property and debt divided in a divorce proceeding?

Mississippi is not a 50-50 state.  Rather, marital property and debt are divided according to “equitable division.” The following are factors a Judge looks to in determining the division:

What factors does a Judge consider in determining whether to award alimony?