Mississippi Divorce Attorney Talks About the Limitations of No Fault Divorce

South Dakota is considering changing its divorce laws to allow a party to obtain a divorce without their spouse’s consent. If House Bill 1221 is signed into law in South Dakota, Mississippi would be the only remaining state in which no-consent, no fault divorce is unavailable.

Proponents of the legislation say that it would provide protection for victims of domestic violence because it would allow them to divorce without talking about the abuse that they have experienced. The ability to choose not to discuss domestic violence can help domestic violence victims to stay safe. In states where similar measures have been passed, statistics indicate that fewer domestic violence victims are being murdered since the laws were changed.

Opponents of House Bill 1221 understand that protecting victims of domestic violence victims is important. However, they feel that passing the legislation would encourage couples to give up on marriage too easily. They want to make sure that any change in the law that would allow divorce without consent is worded concisely enough so that couples will be encouraged to work through their difficulties instead of running to divorce court.

Like Mississippi, South Dakota has several fault-based grounds for divorce. The proposed legislation, HB 1221, deals with irreconcilable differences, or no-fault, divorces only. No-fault divorce is available in Mississippi, but only in situations where both parties agree to it. Interestingly enough, most Mississippi divorces are eventually resolved as no-fault divorces. This includes some cases which are initially filed based on one of the fault-based grounds for divorce, because parties can draft their complaints for divorce in a way that essentially asks the court to grant them a divorce for the specified fault-based reason or because of irreconcilable differences. In situations where this “either-or” approach is followed, a fault case can become a no-fault case at any time by agreement of the parties.

Since providing evidence of fault or obtaining a spouse’s agreement to irreconcilable differences are the only ways that a person can obtain a divorce in Mississippi, victims of domestic violence may have a more difficult time obtaining a divorce than people who are not affected by domestic violence. A reluctance to discuss the abuse could prevent some domestic violence victims from citing habitual cruel and inhuman treatment as grounds for divorce. While it is true that there are a number of other fault grounds available, it is possible that a domestic violence victim could find themselves in a position where they don’t want to talk about abuse and none of those other fault-based grounds apply. In these situations, domestic violence victims may feel as though they must remain married because the divorce choices that are available to them are not choices that they feel comfortable making.

Deciding to get a divorce is not easy. Once you have made the choice to file for divorce in Mississippi, you need to know that your divorce attorney is there to help you every step of the way. Whether you are preparing to file for divorce or you are trying to get through your divorce and you have decided to seek legal counsel, Mississippi Divorce Attorney Matthew S. Poole is here to help you. If you have questions or concerns related to divorce in Mississippi, please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free, initial consultation.

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Mississippi Divorce Attorney Talks About the Limitations of No Fault Divorce
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Mississippi Divorce Attorney explains the limitations associated with no fault divorce cases.

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