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You Do Not Have To Face Your Divorce Alone

The decision to end your marriage, whether by your choice or your spouse’s choice, can feel like a relief after prolonged discord — but it can also feel like you are alone in a disaster. Filing for divorce or learning that your spouse has filed for divorce is the beginning of a process that most people find challenging. I’m attorney Rita Nahlik Silin, and my firm, Silin Law Firm PLLC in Ocean Springs, is a valuable resource for Mississippi residents approaching divorce.

Marital Dissolution Can Be Intimidating; Get The Answers You Need

It may help to realize that the emotional and legal aspects of divorce are two different matters altogether. It is normal to experience a range of difficult feelings, including grief, anger and other negative emotions. This is especially true if you have decided to separate after a life-long relationship. Sometimes, couples counseling or individual counseling can help you recover. But only time can heal you completely.

You may find it overwhelming to wonder about practical outcomes ahead, such as who will keep the marital home, how property will be divided, how child custody and visitation will be determined, and whether one of you will pay child support and/or spousal support to the other.

Providing Valuable Guidance Throughout Your Divorce

An experienced attorney who puts you at ease and advises you according to your unique circumstances can be highly beneficial. I can help you discover answers to essential questions about:

  • A property settlement that takes into account special assets such as 401(k) accounts and other retirement assets
  • Debt division
  • A parenting plan
  • Spousal support (alimony) before and after the divorce
  • Restraining orders if domestic violence or threats have erupted

On the other hand, the legal aspects of divorce more closely resemble the dissolution of a business. Approaching your divorce as a financial and practical matter may enable you to keep a long-term perspective and avoid unnecessary legal costs.

Overview Of The Mississippi Divorce Process

Each case is unique, which means that no two cases follow precisely the same path. However, it can be helpful to know generally what to expect during the divorce process. I have provided a basic overview below from the perspective of the spouse initiating divorce proceedings.

Step one: Filing a divorce petition with the Jackson County Chancery Court (or wherever you happen to live). Before filing, you need to ensure you meet the residency and legal requirements stated earlier on the page. Paperwork varies depending on whether you have minor children and whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

Step two: Notify your spouse of the official intention to divorce, either by giving them the forms and asking to provide written acknowledgment or paying a professional process server to personally deliver the paperwork to your spouse. You may need to give them up to 30 days to formally respond.

Step three: Pursue temporary motions in court (if necessary) for spousal support and child support, in effect until the divorce is finalized.

Step four: Work with your attorney through discovery. This is the process where each spouse makes financial disclosures and attorneys can subpoena records or other evidence relevant to the case. Thorough discovery is particularly important if you believe that your spouse may be trying to hide assets or has otherwise been untruthful in their disclosures.

Step five: Resolve the disputed aspects of the case, including property and debt division, child custody, child support, spousal support and any other legal issues about which you and your spouse have not reached an agreement. There are numerous resolution methods, including negotiation with the help of your respective attorneys, mediation or taking the case to trial before a judge.

Step six: Formalize decisions (regarding custody, property division, etc.) and present it to a judge for approval. If everything appears to be fair and complete, the court can finalize the divorce.

It’s important to work with a skilled Jackson County, Mississippi, divorce lawyer at all stages of the divorce process. When you hire my firm, I provide experienced guidance and personalized attention throughout the duration of your legal matter.

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

It is perfectly natural to have questions as you approach a divorce. Here, I answer some of the most common questions my clients ask me.

Do you have to be separated before a divorce? For how long?

Mississippi neither formally recognizes legal separations nor requires them before divorce proceedings can begin. You can, however, seek a maintenance order during an informal separation period to address issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, health insurance, the right to the use of the marital home and other important issues.

What are the grounds for divorce in Mississippi?

Couples in this state can opt for a “no-fault” divorce based on irreconcilable differences. This is the most common approach. However, you can also file for fault-based divorce based on grounds such as adultery, desertion, habitual cruelty, and addiction to drugs or alcohol. Natural impotency, insanity, idiocy and a wife’s pregnancy by someone other than her husband at the time the marriage began are also valid reasons for divorce, but only when the aggrieved spouse was unaware of the issue before the marriage.

Who gets the house in a divorce?

There is no easy answer to this question. Marital property, like the family home, has to be divided equitably, or fairly. What that means can vary greatly between situations. An attorney can help you look at your particular financial situation and decide the best approach for dealing with major assets, such as real estate.

Can I move to another state and still get divorced in Mississippi?

For Mississippi courts to have jurisdiction over a divorce, one member of a couple must be an actual, current resident of the state and have been so for at least six months before filing.

Are there different rules to get a legal same-sex divorce in Mississippi?

Same-sex couples use the same divorce process as heterosexual couples. However, they may face additional challenges if the couple previously had a civil union or domestic partnership prior to marriage, since those also have to be dissolved. There may also be unique issues regarding property division and child custody that must be addressed.

Get Started On Your Case Today

It is often said that divorce is an area of the law in which neither side is likely to go away feeling he or she has “won the case.” Both parties typically have a sense of loss. The goal is nonetheless attainable: getting your divorce behind you and moving on with your life. How long that will take and how expensive it is may not be predictable if your spouse makes unexpected moves. Schedule a consultation to talk to me, Rita Silin, by sending an email request or calling 228-215-3080.