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Mississippi Divorce and Family Law Attorney

Family law matters in Mississippi are often complex and stressful, requiring an experienced family law attorney to represent your best interests.  When you need a family law attorney who can protect your legal rights while helping you resolve familial disputes, call Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC at (228) 872-8752.  With an office in Ocean Springs, we proudly represent clients with divorce and family needs across the state of Mississippi.

There are several family law firms to choose from in Mississippi; however, at the legal firm of Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC, your case is a priority and will not get lost in the shuffle.

Our attorneys have the resources it takes to:

  • Keep your case moving forward;
  • Address your pressing legal concerns; and
  • Answer your questions in a timely manner.

Call Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC today and schedule a complimentary case evaluation.

How an Experienced Mississippi Family Law Attorney Can Help You

Family law attorneys are more than advocates at court hearings and negotiators during settlement talks.  They are educated professionals, skilled in Mississippi family law, and well-versed in family court practices and procedures.

The family law attorneys at Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC will stand beside you from the beginning to the end of your case, starting with your case consultation.  At your initial consultation, a family law attorney advises you of your legal options and helps you choose the best legal plan to meet your individual goals.

After choosing a legal strategy, your attorney will:

  • Prepare and file any necessary court documents;
  • Begin talks with the opposing family member or their counsel;
  • File any temporary order requests;
  • Work towards an agreeable settlement;
  • Collect and evaluate evidence from the other side;
  • Settle your case; or
  • Prepare for trial.

Due to the volatility and emotional attachments in family law cases, it is best not to try to handle your case.  Before making any decisions regarding your case, consult with the family law attorneys at Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC, and get an honest opinion about your case’s viability and how to proceed.  We can meet at our office in Ocean Springs or meet with you wherever you are located in Mississippi.

What Is Family Law?

Family law is an area of civil law focusing on familial relationships; however, the parties involved in family law cases are not always blood relatives or married.  While divorce is the most common and high-profile family law issue, family law covers a wide range of legal matters.  Family law practice includes but is not limited to the following types of matters:

  • Annulment;
  • Divorce;
  • Legal separation;
  • Wills and estates;
  • Adoption;
  • Paternity;
  • Emancipation;
  • Child custody and support;
  • Spousal maintenance and alimony;
  • Domestic abuse;
  • Prenuptial agreements; and
  • Postnuptial agreements.

Family law attorneys may represent a client in court during some form of negotiations or arbitration or draft critical legal documents on a client’s behalf.  Although domestic abuse is a criminal offense, family law attorneys may represent either the victim of domestic abuse or the accused.

Grounds For Divorce – Contested and Uncontested Divorce

Navigating the complexity of a divorce begins with understanding the different grounds on which you can file for one. In Mississippi, no-fault grounds for divorce are available only if both parties mutually agree to dissolve their marriage without placing blame on either side. This is an uncontested divorce.

If consensus isn’t possible between you and your partner, a fault-based ground must be shown. This is what’s known as a contested divorce. The following are the grounds on which a divorce can be sought:

“Divorces from the bonds of matrimony may be decreed to the injured party for any one or more of the following twelve (12) causes: 

First. Natural impotency. 

Second. Adultery, unless it should appear that it was committed by collusion of the parties for the purpose of procuring a divorce, or unless the parties cohabited after a knowledge by complainant of the adultery. 

Third. Being sentenced to any penitentiary, and not pardoned before being sent there. 

Fourth. Willful, continued and obstinate desertion for the space of one (1) year. 

Fifth. Habitual drunkenness. 

Sixth. Habitual and excessive use of opium, morphine, or other like drug. 

Seventh. Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, including spousal domestic abuse. 

Spousal domestic abuse may be established through the reliable testimony of a single credible witness, who may be the injured party, and includes, but is not limited to: 

That the injured party’s spouse attempted to cause, or purposely, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to the injured party, or that the injured party’s spouse attempted by physical menace to put the injured party in fear of imminent serious bodily harm; or 

That the injured party’s spouse engaged in a pattern of behavior against the injured party of threats or intimidation, emotional or verbal abuse, forced isolation, sexual extortion or sexual abuse, or stalking or aggravated stalking as defined in Section 97-3-107, if the pattern of behavior rises above the level of unkindness or rudeness or incompatibility or want of affection. 

Eighth. Having mental illness or an intellectual disability at the time of marriage, if the party complaining did not know of that infirmity. 

Ninth. Marriage to some other person at the time of the pretended marriage between the parties. 

Tenth. Pregnancy of the wife by another person at the time of the marriage, if the husband did not know of the pregnancy. 

Eleventh. Either party may have a divorce if they are related to each other within the degrees of kindred between whom marriage is prohibited by law. 

Twelfth. Incurable mental illness. However, no divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the party with mental illness has been under regular treatment for mental illness and causes thereof, confined in an institution for persons with mental illness for a period of at least three (3) years immediately preceding the commencement of the action…”

Child Custody

Child custody in Mississippi is broken down into two main types: legal and physical.

Legal Custody: This grants a parent the authority to make crucial decisions regarding their child’s welfare. These might include decisions about their healthcare provisions, education choices, religious upbringing, and so on.

Physical Custody: This type of custody involves the child residing primarily with one parent, who also provides daily supervision and care.

Note that both legal and physical custody can be either joint (shared by both parents) or sole (given to only one parent), depending on what is determined to be in the best interests of the child per judicial discretion.

What is The Child’s Best Interest?

In Mississippi, the court’s primary concern in custody cases is to safeguard the best interests of the child. While this term isn’t specifically defined, generally it means creating an environment that will best promote a child’s wellbeing and development.

Guidance on determining these ‘best interests’ comes from a 1983 case known as Albright v. Albright which established 12 key factors for consideration including age of the child, emotional ties between parent and child, parenting skills exhibited by each parent, along with each parent’s physical and mental health status and overall stability.

A judge must weigh all these factors before making any ruling over custody.

Contact a Mississippi Family Law Attorney

To learn more about a divorce or one of the family law matters listed above, or discuss another family law issue, contact the skilled Ocean Springs family law attorneys at Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC.  You can count on our experienced family law attorneys to diligently advocate for your rights and your children’s best interests in any Mississippi family law case.

Contact Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC, today, and let us put our more than two decades of legal experience to work for you.