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Legal Statutes: Mississippi

UPDATED August 12, 2016

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Article 1. Protection from Domestic Abuse Law

back to top93-21-15. Domestic abuse protection temporary and final orders

(1)(a) After a hearing is held as provided in Section 93-21-11 for which notice and opportunity to be heard has been granted to the respondent, and upon a finding that the petitioner has proved the existence of abuse by a preponderance of the evidence, the municipal and justice courts shall be empowered to grant a temporary domestic abuse protection order to bring about a cessation of abuse of the petitioner, any minor children, or any person alleged to be incompetent. The relief the court may provide includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(i) Directing the respondent to refrain from abusing the petitioner, any minor children, or any person alleged to be incompetent;

(ii) Prohibiting or limiting respondent's physical proximity to the abused or other household members as designated by the court, including residence and place of work;

(iii) Prohibiting or limiting contact by the respondent with the abused or other household members designated by the court, whether in person, by telephone or by other electronic communication;

(iv) Granting possession to the petitioner of the residence or household to the exclusion of the respondent by evicting the respondent or restoring possession to the petitioner, or both; or

(v) Prohibiting the transferring, encumbering or otherwise disposing of property mutually owned or leased by the parties, except when in the ordinary course of business.

(b) The duration of any temporary domestic abuse protection order issued by a municipal or justice court shall not exceed thirty (30) days. However, if the party to be protected and the respondent do not have minor children in common, the duration of the temporary domestic abuse protection order may exceed thirty (30) days but shall not exceed one (1) year.

(c) Any person aggrieved by the decision of a municipal or justice court judge to issue a temporary domestic abuse protection order or to deny such an order shall be entitled to request a de novo review by the chancery or county court. All parties shall be advised of the procedure for seeking a de novo hearing.

(2)(a) After a hearing is held as provided in Section 93-21-11 for which notice and opportunity to be heard has been granted to the respondent, and upon a finding that the petitioner has proved the existence of abuse by a preponderance of the evidence, the chancery or county court shall be empowered to grant a final domestic abuse protection order or approve any consent agreement to bring about a cessation of abuse of the petitioner, any minor children, or any person alleged to be incompetent. In granting a final domestic abuse protection order, the chancery or county court may provide for relief that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(i) Directing the respondent to refrain from abusing the petitioner, any minor children, or any person alleged to be incompetent;

(ii) Granting possession to the petitioner of the residence or household to the exclusion of the respondent by evicting the respondent or restoring possession to the petitioner, or both;

(iii) When the respondent has a duty to support the petitioner, any minor children, or any person alleged to be incompetent living in the residence or household and the respondent is the sole owner or lessee, granting possession to the petitioner of the residence or household to the exclusion of the respondent by evicting the respondent or restoring possession to the petitioner, or both, or by consent agreement allowing the respondent to provide suitable, alternate housing;

(iv) Awarding temporary custody of or establishing temporary visitation rights with regard to any minor children or any person alleged to be incompetent, or both;

(v) If the respondent is legally obligated to support the petitioner, any minor children, or any person alleged to be incompetent, ordering the respondent to pay temporary support for the petitioner, any minor children, or any person alleged to be incompetent;

(vi) Ordering the respondent to pay to the abused person monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse, including, but not limited to, medical expenses resulting from such abuse, loss of earnings or support, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, moving expenses, a reasonable attorney's fee, or any combination of the above;

(vii) Prohibiting the transferring, encumbering, or otherwise disposing of property mutually owned or leased by the parties, except when in the ordinary course of business;

(viii) Prohibiting or limiting respondent's physical proximity to the abused or other household members designated by the court, including residence, school and place of work;

(ix) Prohibiting or limiting contact by the respondent with the abused or other household members designated by the court whether in person, by telephone or by electronic communication; and

(x) Ordering counseling or professional medical treatment for the respondent, including counseling or treatment designed to bring about the cessation of domestic abuse.

(b) Except as provided below, a final domestic abuse protection order issued by a chancery or county court under the provisions of this chapter shall be effective for such time period as the court deems appropriate. The expiration date of the order shall be clearly stated in the order.

(c) Temporary provisions addressing temporary custody, visitation or support of minor children contained in a final domestic abuse protection order issued by a chancery or county court shall be effective for one hundred eighty (180) days. A party seeking relief beyond that period must initiate appropriate proceedings in the chancery court of appropriate jurisdiction. If at the end of the one-hundred-eighty-day period, neither party has initiated such proceedings, the custody, visitation or support of minor children will revert to the chancery court order addressing such terms that was in effect at the time the domestic abuse protection order was granted. The chancery court in which custody, visitation or support proceedings have been initiated may provide for any temporary provisions addressing custody, visitation or support as the court deems appropriate.

(3) Every domestic abuse protection order issued pursuant to this section shall set forth the reasons for its issuance, shall contain specific findings of fact regarding the existence of abuse, shall be specific in its terms and shall describe in reasonable detail the act or acts to be prohibited. No mutual protection order shall be issued unless that order is supported by an independent petition by each party requesting relief pursuant to this chapter, and the order contains specific findings of fact regarding the existence of abuse by each party as principal aggressor, and a finding that neither party acted in self-defense.

(4) The Attorney General, in cooperation with the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Mississippi Judicial College, shall develop standardized forms for temporary and final domestic abuse protection orders. The use of standardized forms in protection order proceedings pursuant to this chapter shall be fully implemented by all courts no later than July 1, 2015. However, in any criminal prosecution or contempt proceeding for a violation of a domestic abuse protection order, it shall not be a defense that the order was not issued on the standardized form.

(5) Upon issuance of any protection order by the court, the order shall be entered in the Mississippi Protection Order Registry by the clerk of the court pursuant to Section 93-21-25, and a copy shall be provided to the sheriff's department in the county of the court of issuance.

(6) Upon subsequent petition by either party and following a hearing of which both parties have received notice and an opportunity to be heard, the court may modify, amend, or dissolve a domestic abuse protection order previously issued by that court.
Laws 1981, Ch. 429, § 8, eff. July 1, 1981; Laws 2002, Ch. 337, § 2, eff. July 1, 2002; Laws 2007, Ch. 589, § 5, eff. July 1, 2007. Amended by Laws 2009, Ch. 545, § 7, eff. July 1, 2009; Laws 2012, Ch. 514, § 4, eff. July 1, 2012; Laws 2014, S.B. No. 2476, § 2, eff. July 1, 2014.