Child Custody Awards in Mississippi

In Mississippi divorce cases, courts, unless the circumstances warrant, generally do not presume custody in the mother’s favor. While in the majority of cases, mothers naturally tend to receive primary custody over her children, the courts have in recent years begun to award custody to fathers in a variety of cases.  Theoretically, this means that both parents have an equally significant chance of obtaining physical custody over their children.

In determining an appropriate custodial/visitation schedule, the parties are free to negotiate the terms of same in their respective parenting plan.  If the parties are unable to reach an agreement in this regard, the court will impose its own terms.  Additionally, child custody determinations are awarded in Mississippi upon a review of the best interests of the child, which could result in a joint legal and physical custody arrangement between the parties, or a number of other scenarios, such as an award of legal custody to both parents and only physical custody to just one.   To clarify, physical custody refers to having actual possession and control over the child, while legal custody is the right to make “legally significant” decisions affecting the child’s life.

Additionally, the best interests that the court considers in rendering child custody decisions are as follows:  the child’s wishes, the parent’s wishes, the child’s relationship with her or her parents, or sisters, brothers and others who may affect the child’s best interests, the child’s connection with and adjustment to his or her home, school and the community at large, and lastly, the mental and physical health of all individuals involved.

In the event that a Mississippi court deems the child as having been abandoned or deserted by his or her parents, or for whatever reason determines that the parents are generally unfit to care for the child, it may award (i) both legal and physical custody to a third party who has or is capable of providing a stable and supportive home environment, or (ii) to any other person that the court feels is able to properly care for the child.

If you are contemplating a divorce, it is important to hire an attorney that is experienced in handling these types of cases.   Only a skilled attorney can help you determine what your legal options are, the nature and extent of your rights and responsibilities, and how to maximize your chances of success.  We look forward to providing you with excellent legal representation.

Contact Mississippi divorce attorney Matthew S. Poole for a consultation by calling (601) 573-7429 today. 

Tags: , ,