Do-It-Yourself Divorce Papers in Mississippi

By Jane Haskins

Do-It-Yourself Divorce Papers in Mississippi

By Jane Haskins

If you and your spouse agree your marriage is over, you may be able to get a divorce in Mississippi based on irreconcilable differences. You can file the divorce papers yourself, and your divorce can be final in as little as 60 days.

But you may need a lawyer's help if you disagree on things like dividing up property, child custody, or even whether to get divorced at all.

Grounds for Divorce in Mississippi

Most states let you divorce based on "irreconcilable differences" without having to prove the breakup was anyone's fault. But, in Mississippi, you can only get an irreconcilable differences divorce if you and your spouse agree to get divorced.

If your spouse doesn't want a divorce, you can file for a contested divorce based on one of these 12 fault-based grounds:

  • Adultery
  • Being institutionalized for at least three years with incurable insanity
  • Being sent to prison
  • Bigamy
  • Desertion for at least a year
  • Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Habitual drug use
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Impotency
  • Incest
  • Insanity or idiocy at the time of marriage, if the other party didn't know
  • Wife pregnant by someone else at the time of the marriage, and husband didn't know

To get a fault-based divorce, you must prove the grounds for your divorce in court.

How to Get a Divorce in Mississippi

To file for divorce in Mississippi, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months. You don't have to be separated before filing for divorce. If you're pregnant, you can't file divorce papers until after the baby is born.

You'll file your divorce papers with the chancery court in the county where you and your spouse live. If you live in different counties, you can file for divorce in the county where either of you lives.

Mississippi doesn't have a form for do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce papers, but the court clerk's office in your county may have a form or information about what to include. You can also prepare DIY divorce papers online.

For an uncontested divorce in Mississippi based on irreconcilable differences, you'll file the papers jointly. You can only get an uncontested divorce if you agree on all issues in your divorce, including:

  • Child support, custody, and visitation
  • Dividing your property and debts
  • Spousal support, also known as alimony

A judge must review and approve your agreement. Your divorce won't be final until at least 60 days after you file the papers.

How to Serve Divorce Papers

After you file for divorce, the next step is to deliver or "serve," a copy of the divorce papers to your soon-to-be-ex. If you're wondering whether you can serve the divorce papers yourself, the answer is no. People who can serve divorce papers include a representative from your local sheriff's office, a registered process server, or anyone 18 or over who isn't a party to the divorce.

The best way to serve divorce papers in Mississippi is by first-class mail, with instructions to return an acknowledgment of receipt. Papers can also be served in person, and they may be served by certified mail if your spouse is out of state. If you can't find your spouse, you can ask the court for permission to serve papers by publication in a newspaper.

How Much Does a DIY Divorce Cost?

A DIY, uncontested divorce can save money on legal fees, but you'll still have to pay to file papers with your county. Fees vary from one county to another. You may be eligible for a fee waiver if you have a low income and cannot afford the fees. You may also pay a fee to have your papers served.

Even if you and your spouse agree to divorce, it can be hard to know how to handle issues like property, debts, support, and custody. It helps to talk to a lawyer who can explain your rights and highlight things you might not have thought about. If you and your spouse don't see eye to eye on everything, a mediator can help you reach an agreement and avoid a court trial. Lawyers and mediators charge an hourly fee or flat rate that may vary depending on your situation.

Divorce is a gut-wrenching decision. But if you and your spouse can agree, a DIY divorce can save you a lot of money and conflict as you move on to the next chapter of your life.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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