"How does a Court decide which Parent gets custody of Minor Children?"

The Mississippi Supreme Court has consistently maintained the the best interest of the minor child or children is the "Polestar" consideration for any Judge that is hearing your case.  In other words, that is the guiding principle any Judge must follow in a child custody case.  Every case is different, and deciding between two parents who both want custody is the most difficult and important decision a Judge can make.  In deciding who should get the "Primary" physical custody, the court looks at the following factors, known as the "Albright Factors"

1.  The Age of the Child or Children

2.  The Health and Sex of the Child or Children

3.   Which parent has had the "Continuity of Care" prior to the separation

4.  Which parent has the better parenting skills and which is more willing and able to provide child care.

5.  The employment of the parent, including the demands, hours and responsibilities of the employment.

6.  The physical and mental health of the parents, including the age of the parents in relation to the health issues.

7.  The emotional ties of each parent to the Child or Children

8.  The moral fitness of each parent.

9.  The home, community and school record of the Child or Children

10. The preference of the minor Child or Children if of an age or maturity to express such an opinion.

11.  The stability of the home environment of either parent.

12.  Any other factors relevant to the parent-child relationship.

     At our firm we build our entire case in custody disputes around these factors.  We have served as Counsel in over two hundred (200) custody hearings and trials, and we know what it takes to try the case.

      Please contact us if we can answer any questions in your custody dispute.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Uncontested Divorce in Mississippi

There are two (2) answers to that question:

     1.  If the parties agree on a no-fault (irreconcilable differences) divorce, then there is a mandatory 60 day waiting period from the date of the filing of the divorce petition before the divorce can be finalized.  Remember, the 60 day time period time does not start running until the Divorce Petition is actually filed. During that time the parties have to complete and file a "Property Settlement Agreement" which settles all of the property rights between them, and, more importantly, provides for the care, custody and control of any minor children.  This type of uncontested divorce requires the complete agreement of both parties; it cannot go forward without that.  This type takes around 90 days from start to finish to complete.

     2.   If one of the parties proceeds with a "fault" divorce, then the other party has to be served with a summons and the divorce complaint.  He or she then has 30 days to file a response or object  and, if that is not done, the divorce can proceed as "uncontested."  This generally takes around 45-60 days from start to finish if there is no objection from the other party.  A "Property Settlement Agreement" is not necessary and you don't need both parties to agree.    

What are the Grounds For Divorce In Mississippi?

     The grounds for divorce in Mississippi are very specific and each has their own requirements to "prove" you case.  

(There is only one type of "No-Fault"  Divorce in Mississippi, and that is discussed in the page, "Uncontested Divorces".)


Natural impotency, insanity or idiocy, and a wife's pregnancy by another person at the time of the marriage are pre-existing conditions that are grounds for divorce in Mississippi. In these cases, the innocent spouse must not have known of the condition prior to the marriage.

The grounds that are not "pre-existing" and that must take place during the marriage are as follows:

1.  Desertion

2.  Adultery,

3.  Custody to the Mississippi Department of Corrections,

4.  Incurable insanity that develops after marriage,

5.  Habitual drunkenness

6.  Habitual and excessive drug use,

7.  Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.

8.  Bigamy

9. Incest

     Consulting with a qualified divorce attorney can help you understand the proof required for each of these grounds, which is a necessary part of getting  divorce on "fault " grounds.  Proving the grounds for divorce often becomes the biggest challenge for a family lawyer in a divorce trial.  We can explain the "ins and outs" when you come in for your initial conference.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Contested Divorce

    That is a more difficult question to Answer.  It almost always depends on the other side of the Divorce, and even the County where you live.

     In other words, if your spouse hires an attorney and there are serious issues such as child custody, child support, numerous property issues, etc., it can take up to a year, particularly in a busy county such as Desoto County. 

      In some of the other counties in North Mississippi it would not take as long.  We have had cases on occasion that took up to two years, but those are the exceptions, not the rule.      

      We can always give our clients a pretty good idea of the time it will take once the divorce is filed and the other side responds, again depending on the issues, the county where the divorce is filed, and sometimes even the time of year it is filed. 

     For example, let's say you file for divorce in May.  That puts you into the "Summer Schedule", as we at our firm call it, where it is difficult to get an available court date.  Naturally, in the summer you have attorneys and clients on vacation, judges on vacation, The Mississippi Bar Conference, Judges' Conferences, etc.   That makes it a challenge to find a date that meets with everyone's schedule, and thus causes a delay.

Can I Get An Annulment If I Have Been Married Less Than One Year

Our offices are sometimes asked that question.  We have had people in our office married or re-married less than 3 months, and this question comes up.   Annulments are extremely rare...we tell our clients that if you have only been married a week, you still have to get a divorce rather than an annulment.

These are the only times an annulment can be granted in Mississippi:   

  • Bigamy
  • Statutory incest
  • Incurable impotency
  • Lack of physical capacity to marry
  • Insanity at the time of the marriage
  • Pregnancy by another without the husband's knowledge
  • Lack of consent due to age
  • Failure to comply with the statutory licensing provisions

If you would like more information or think you fit one of the scenarios, please give us a call and we can advise you.

How Much Child Support Do I Have To Pay?

    The child support guidelines in Mississippi are established by statute, more particularly, Mississippi Code Annot. Sections 43-19-101 and 43-19-103.

     Section 43-19-101 gives the percentages of child support one must pay (Below is the chart), and Section 43-19-103 gives the criteria for overcoming the guidelines.  Keep in mind the chart is merely a starting point and you need a qualified Family Law Attorney to navigate the full content of these two Mississippi Code Sections.

     Number of Children Due Support                                                                             Percentage of Adjusted Gross Income

                       1                                                                                                                                          14%

                       2                                                                                                                                           20%

                       3                                                                                                                                           22%

                       4                                                                                                                                           24%

                       5 or more                                                                                                                              26%