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One of the most common issues for families in Mississippi is divorce. The state of Mississippi has recognized twelve fault grounds for divorce available to one spouse when his or her partner is guilty of some serious wrongdoing. But what about when the marriage is just plain over? What happens when both the husband and the wife are ready to call it quits?
Mississippi recognizes a form of divorce known as “Irreconcilable Differences (ID)” divorce. Located at section 93-5-2 of the Mississippi Code, this is perhaps the most common form of divorce granted in the state. Some people refer to this type of divorce as “no fault” because neither party has to prove fault of the other.
Spouses may not always agree on why a marriage has failed or who gets what when they decide to split up. Not to worry, an Irreconcilable Differences divorce may be an option… if they at least can agree on going their separate ways. There are a few reasons for this, but the most common reason is couples would rather not “air their dirty laundry” in court. Also, because an ID divorce does not require one spouse to prove that the other partner is at fault, couples sometimes feel they are “saving face” by ending the marriage more peacefully through an ID divorce.
Like all divorce grounds, there are specific requirements that must be met for the court to grant a divorce on Irreconcilable Differences. An experienced attorney will know these factors backwards and forwards, but here are the basics:
- The couple must jointly file a complaint before the court. The couple should request the ID divorce together and in writing.
- The complaint should only identify ID as the grounds for divorce. If one spouse disagrees with the ID divorce, or would like to prove a fault ground instead, a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences will likely not be granted.
- Finally, after filing the joint complaint, the court may not grant the divorce until at least 60 days later. This “cooling off period” is designed to make sure that both husband and wife are very sure that they desire a divorce. If they still want a divorce 60 or more days after initially requesting it, the court should grant the divorce.
Still, what about child custody? Or how to divide the couple’s property? The couple filing for an ID divorce has two options in sorting this out:
- Agree on everything – If the couple is able to decide themselves who should have custody of the children and who should keep what property, they can include this in their joint complaint for Irreconcilable Differences divorce. The judge will review this to make sure it is consistent with the best interests of any children involved and equitable to both parties and. If the agreement looks good, the judge will likely grant the divorce and include these terms.
- Agree on less than everything – Maybe the couple agrees on wanting a divorce, but not on who gets what. Maybe they agree on how to divide property, but disagree on who should have custody of the children. As long as the couple jointly files a complaint agreeing to ID divorce, they can leave these details to the court in the same way fault ground divorces proceed.
As you can tell, getting a divorce on the grounds of Irreconcilable Differences is not quite as simple and easy as it sounds. Both the husband and the wife must file their joint complaint just right, and do quite a bit of work to settle any lingering disputes. This is why it is smart to hire a lawyer, especially when dealing with such an emotional issue like divorce.
If you would like help navigating the numerous legal, financial, and emotional aspects of divorce, contact us today. The Wade Law Firm, PLLC, Mississippi Divorce and Family Law Firm, is ready to answer your questions. Attorney Vangela M. Wade has over 18 years of legal experience helping countless clients in variety of difficult matters.