Mississippi Family Law Attorney Discusses Possible Developments in Mississippi Divorce Law

In Mississippi, there may soon be another item added to the list of statutorily recognized grounds for divorce. House Bill 185 is awaiting Senate action, and, if passed, would add “excessive verbal, mental, psychological or emotional abuse” to the list of grounds upon which a Mississippi divorce may be granted.

A spouse who is being abused in any way can presently file for a divorce based on habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, which is already recognized as a ground for divorce. However, parties who seek a divorce because of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment must prove either that the defendant’s conduct was physical or that it had an adverse physical effect on the victim, and also that the defendant’s conduct took place over a period of time.

The evidentiary requirements of a habitual cruel and inhuman treatment divorce are such that they may preclude some spouses who are being abused to get a divorce. Abuse is often difficult to prove, because it often occurs behind closed doors. There may be no witnesses and no physical evidence. The abuse may be subtle, so subtle that the victim does not realize what is happening. Abuse victims are often unwilling to talk about what happened, out of embarrassment or because they feel as though they brought it upon themselves. Also, abusers often isolate themselves and their victims, and they may limit a victim’s access to resources like transportation, phones, and computers, so that it is difficult if not impossible for the victim to ask for help.

If House Bill 185 is passed, it would simply add the words “excessive verbal, mental, psychological, or emotional abuse” to the “habitual cruel and inhuman treatment” grounds for divorce. While House Bill 185 may appear to make it easier to get a Mississippi divorce, there is some question as to whether it will actually loosen the divorce requirements at all. It would not appear as though the evidentiary requirements would change if the bill is passed, so many of the abuse victims that find themselves stuck in abusive marriages may not be able to prove what they need to prove in order to get a divorce. Likewise, in cases where the abuse is not physical and does not produce physical effects, an abuse victim may be unable to fulfill the requirements for getting a fault-based divorce. It will be interesting to see what action the Senate takes on the bill, and what effect it will have if it passes.

If abuse is a factor in your Mississippi divorce, you need help from someone that you can trust. A skilled Mississippi Family Law Attorney can help you to determine the best way to file for divorce. Mississippi Family Law Attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you understand the divorce process, and he can help you work through it every step of the way. Please call our office at (601) 573-7429 today, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

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Mississippi Family Law Attorney Discusses Possible Developments in Mississippi Divorce Law
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Mississippi Family Law Attorney discusses legal developments with respect to Mississippi divorce law.

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