Mississippi Divorce Attorney Discusses Drug Use as Grounds for Divorce

One of the fault-based grounds for divorce which is recognized by the State of Mississippi is habitual and excessive drug use. The statutory description of divorce on the grounds of drug use states that “divorces from the bonds of matrimony may be decreed to the injured party for … habitual and excessive use of opium, morphine, or other like drug”. MS § 93-5-1

As you can see from the statute, there are certain criteria which an injured spouse must prove in order for the court to grant them a divorce based upon the grounds of habitual and excessive drug use. The statute contains three distinct elements for which the injured spouse must present evidence.

The first element of divorce based upon drug use is that the spouse’s drug use must be habitual and frequent. Since there is not a one-size-fits-all definition of habitual or frequent drug use, the courts have provided some guidance on the issue through their decisions. In 1983, the decision for the case of Ladner v. Ladner stated that a party who seeks to show habitual drug use must show regular drug use, because a single instance of drug use or infrequent drug use is not habitual. The court’s decision in Ladner also addresses the second element of a drug use divorce, whether drug use is excessive, by stating that a spouse who uses drugs excessively is one who is unable to refrain from doing so whenever the opportunity arises. Ladner v. Ladner, 436 So. 2d 1366, 1374 (Miss. 1983)

The third element of a divorce based upon drug use is that the drug involved must be “opium, morphine, or (some) other like drug”. MS § 93-5-1 If your spouse’s drug of choice is not the opium or morphine which is explicitly described in the statute, you must show the court that it should be viewed as some “other like drug”. Fortunately, a fairly recent 2011 Mississippi Supreme Court case provides guidance on this very topic. The drug at issue in the case of Carambat v. Carambat, 72 So. 3d 505 (¶¶ 36-41) (Miss. 2011) was marijuana. In that case, the court held that the husband’s use of marijuana, which the wife demonstrated had affected his ability to work and to support his family, and which had caused him to become isolated from his family, was comparable to the use of opium or morphine, which can cause users to behave in a similar manner.

Anyone who is contemplating a Mississippi divorce would benefit from seeking assistance from a Mississippi Divorce Attorney, whether their divorce is fault-based or not. Divorce is a major life event, and you deserve to have someone who can advocate strongly for you as you go through it. Your attorney can help you with any questions that you may have regarding divorce in Mississippi. To find out how Mississippi Divorce Attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you navigate the divorce process, please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free consultation.

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Mississippi Divorce Attorney Discusses Drug Use as Grounds for Divorce
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Mississippi Divorce Attorney explains the grounds for divorce regarding drug usage.

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