Divorce in Mississippi: everything you need to know

1 min readLast updated March 22, 2024by Unbiased team

This article takes you through what you need to know when going through a divorce in Mississippi.

Summary

  • Mississippi allows for both fault-based and no-fault-based divorces.

  • The median cost of divorce in the US is $7,000, however this will vary depending on your situation.

  • Either you or your spouse must have lived in Mississippi for at least six months before filing for divorce.

  • A financial advisor can help you navigate your finances during a divorce and rebuild afterward.

What are the different types of divorce in Mississippi?

There are two main types of divorce in Mississippi: fault-based and no-fault.

Need help rebuilding your finances after divorce?

A financial advisor can guide you through your financial recovery both during and after your divorce.
  • Fault-based divorce

A fault-based divorce means that one spouse blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage and proves that the other spouse committed a specific ground for divorce, such as adultery, desertion for at least one year, domestic violence, and incarceration for a felony.

  • No-fault based divorce

A no-fault divorce means that neither spouse blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage, and they agree that the marriage is irreconcilably broken.

A no-fault divorce can be either uncontested or contested.

An uncontested divorce means that both spouses agree on all the terms of the divorce, such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. It is usually faster, cheaper, and less stressful than a contested divorce.

A contested divorce means that the spouses disagree on some or all of the divorce terms and need the court to decide for them.

How much does a divorce cost in Mississippi?

The cost of a divorce in Mississippi varies depending on the type and complexity of the case and the fees of the professionals involved.

However, some of the common costs that you can expect to pay are:

  • Filing fee: This is the fee that you have to pay to the court when you file for divorce. The filing fee for a contested divorce is around $160, and the filing fee for an uncontested divorce is $150. You may also have to pay additional fees for copies, certificates, or motions.

  • Service fee: This is the fee that you have to pay to the person or service that delivers the divorce papers to your spouse. The service fee can range from $25 to $100, depending on the method and distance of service.

  • Mediation fee: This is the fee that you have to pay to a mediator if you choose to use mediation to resolve your divorce issues. The mediation fee can vary depending on the mediator’s qualifications, experience, and rates, but it can range from $100 to $300 per hour.

  • Attorney fee: This can range from $200 to $500 per hour. You may also have to pay a retainer fee, which is a lump sum that the lawyer charges upfront to take your case.

  • Other fees: These are the fees that you may have to pay for other services or expenses related to your divorce, such as appraisals, evaluations, expert witnesses, court reporters, or taxes.

How do you file for divorce in Mississippi?

The first step to filing for divorce in Mississippi is to meet the residency requirement. This means that either you or your spouse must have lived in Mississippi for at least six months before filing for divorce.

The second step is to fill out the appropriate forms and submit them to the court. The forms you need depend on whether you are filing for a fault-based or a no-fault divorce and whether it is uncontested or contested.

The third step is to serve the divorce papers on your spouse. This means that you have to deliver a copy of the forms to your spouse in person or by mail and get proof that they received them. You can use a sheriff, a process server, or a certified mail service to serve the papers. You have to file the proof of service with the court.

The fourth step is to attend a court hearing. If you are filing for an uncontested divorce, you only have to attend one hearing, where the judge will review your forms and grant the divorce if everything is in order. If you are filing for a contested divorce, you may have to attend several hearings, where the judge will hear arguments and evidence from both sides and make decisions on the disputed issues.

How do you split assets in a divorce in Mississippi?

Mississippi is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court will divide the marital property fairly and reasonably, but not necessarily equally.

Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name they are in. This may include real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, businesses, furniture, jewelry, and more.

Separate property, which is not subject to division, includes assets and debts acquired before the marriage, by inheritance, or by gift from a third party.

The court may also order one spouse to pay the other spouse a lump sum or periodic payments as part of the property division. This is known as a property settlement.

How does alimony work in Mississippi?

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a payment that one spouse makes to the other spouse to provide financial assistance after the divorce.

The court may award alimony to either spouse, depending on each party's needs and abilities. The court will consider various factors, such as each spouse's income and expenses, health and earning capacity, and the length of their marriage.

There are two main types of alimony in Mississippi:

  • Periodic alimony: This is the most common type of alimony, which is paid on a regular basis for an indefinite period. The amount and frequency of the payments may be modified or terminated by the court upon a material change of circumstances, such as remarriage, cohabitation, retirement, or death.

  • Lump sum alimony: This is a type of alimony that is paid in a single payment or in installments to compensate the recipient spouse for the loss of marital rights or property. The amount is fixed and cannot be modified or terminated by the court.

What happens to children during a divorce in Mississippi?

If you have children, you will need to address the issues of child custody and child support in your divorce.

  • Child custody

Child custody refers to the legal and physical rights and responsibilities of each parent regarding the care and upbringing of the children.

The court will determine the custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the children based on various factors, such as the wishes of the parent and children, their relationships, and any other relevant factors.

  • Child support

Child support is a payment that one parent makes to the other parent to help cover the costs of raising the children.

The amount of child support is determined by the Mississippi Child Support Guidelines, which are based on the income of both parents, the number of children, the custody arrangement, the health insurance costs, the child care costs, and any other relevant expenses.

The court may also modify or terminate child support upon a material change of circumstances, such as a change in income, custody, or the children's needs.

How can I protect my finances when going through a divorce in Mississippi?

Going through a divorce can be a stressful and challenging time, especially when it comes to finances.

You may have many questions and concerns about how to protect your assets, manage your debts, and plan for your future.

Here are some ways you can protect your money when going through a divorce:

  • Organize your finances: Before filing for divorce, gather all relevant financial information and documents, such as tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, and retirement accounts. Make a list of all assets and liabilities, both marital and non-marital. This will help you and your spouse negotiate a fair distribution of property and debts.

  • Consider mediation: Mediation is a process where you and your spouse work with a neutral third party to resolve issues related to your divorce, such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. Mediation can be less time-consuming, less expensive, and less stressful than going to court. It can also help you maintain a cooperative relationship with your spouse after the divorce.

  • Think about Social Security: If you have been married for at least 10 years, you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record. This can provide valuable income during retirement, especially if your ex-spouse earned more than you. However, certain criteria must be met to qualify for this benefit.

  • Seek professional help: Divorce can significantly impact your financial situation. Consider consulting with a financial advisor specializing in divorce to help you navigate these changes and plan for your future.

Get expert financial advice

A financial advisor can help you assess your current financial status, create a post-divorce budget, and develop a long-term financial plan that aligns with your needs and goals.

Unbiased can connect you with a financial advisor perfectly suited to meet your needs. Simply provide some details about what you’re looking for, and Unbiased’s platform will match you with your advisor.

Find your financial advisor with Unbiased today.

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Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.

Need help rebuilding your finances after divorce?

A financial advisor can guide you through your financial recovery both during and after your divorce.