Mississippi Divorce Rules When One Party Refuses the Divorce

By Beverly Bird

Although the divorce laws in most states bear a similarity to each other, Mississippi departs somewhat from the norm. A resistant spouse who wants to fight a divorce has more ability to do so in this state than in others. Qualifications for no-fault grounds are more stringent than in other jurisdictions as well.

No-Fault Law

Most states allow you to file for divorce on a no-fault ground simply to avoid going through the hassle of proving your spouse guilty of some wrongdoing. In these jurisdictions, using a no-fault ground has no effect on whether you’re contesting the issues of your divorce, such as custody or alimony. This is not the case in Mississippi. You can file on the state’s no-fault ground of irreconcilable differences only if you and your spouse already have a written agreement in place resolving all issues of your marriage and indicating that you both want a divorce.

Contesting Grounds

If your spouse is refusing to give you a divorce so you can’t file on grounds of irreconcilable differences, you have no choice but to choose a fault ground. Fortunately, Mississippi offers 12 of them. They range from the usual adultery, cruelty and desertion grounds available in most states to issues like an addiction to morphine or impotency. If your spouse doesn’t want the divorce, he can contest your ground to try to stop the proceedings. You have what’s called the burden of proof; you have to convince the court that your allegations are true. Mississippi law takes this burden seriously. Your spouse can answer your complaint for divorce, denying your charges, and force a trial where you would have to submit the proof of your ground to the court in order to receive your divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Default Provisions

In most states, if your spouse refuses your divorce by simply not responding to your complaint, you can file for default judgment against him and proceed. Mississippi’s laws do not allow this. Under Section 93-5-7 of Mississippi’s code, if your spouse reacts to service of your complaint by ignoring the whole process, the court will not enter a default judgment against him. Instead, you must go to trial anyway, even without his participation, and prove your grounds to the judge’s satisfaction. If you're successful, the judge will grant your divorce, generally giving you what you asked for in your complaint.

Complicating Factors

Another quirk in Mississippi’s family court rules is that if you are pregnant at the time you file your divorce complaint, the court has the right to put your divorce on hold until you give birth. Although this provision is to ensure you receive an adequate child support order to cover your unborn baby, it can also delay your efforts to move forward if your spouse is resisting the divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What if My Wife in New York State Refuses to Divorce Me?


Related articles

How to Divorce Someone With a Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Even mentally healthy individuals might feel some sense of rejection when they learn their spouses want a divorce. Individuals diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder will usually take the news even worse. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance and are hypersensitive to any implication that they’ve failed at an endeavor. States increasingly train their divorce court judges to deal with all sorts of difficult personalities, including those caused by mental disorders. However, if your spouse suffers from NPD, you may have to take some commonsense steps of your own if you want to end your marriage.

How Do I File a Response to Divorce Papers?

The emotion of a divorce is often further complicated by the legal labyrinth you find yourself trying to navigate after you're served with papers. This is especially true if you decide to proceed on your own, without an attorney. Law is famous for its complicated terms, rules and requirements. When your spouse serves you with divorce papers, you usually have a minimum of three different options to respond, depending on the laws of your particular state.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce for Adultery in New York?

In New York, just as in other states, the time required to get a divorce depends much more on whether you and your spouse can reach an agreement than on your grounds. This isn't to say that your grounds for divorce won't affect the timeline, however. If you file for divorce on grounds of adultery, it will probably necessitate a trial, so your divorce will take longer.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Tennessee Divorce Laws on Adultery

You don’t have to prove marital misconduct to receive a divorce in Tennessee; the state offers the no-fault ground of ...

The Disadvantages of Pleading No Contest to Adultery

In the context of divorce law, you can "plead no contest" by abstaining from defending yourself against the allegations ...

Tennessee Law on Bigamy & Divorce

The law is firm that you can't get married if you're already married to someone else. If you do, it’s bigamy – unless ...

Can You Refuse to Give Your Spouse a Divorce in Georgia?

Your spouse may file for divorce, believing the marriage is over, but even if you aren’t ready to divorce just yet, ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED