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Legal Information: Mississippi


January 27, 2020

What are the grounds for divorce in Mississippi?

Grounds are legally acceptable reasons for divorce. The judge may grant you a “no-fault” divorce based on irreconcilable differences if:

  • both you and your spouse agree to get a divorce under this ground; or
  • you file a divorce petition and your spouse does not respond to the petition or does not appear in court (defaults).

A judge may grant you a fault-based divorce if you can prove that your spouse:

  • is naturally impotent;
  • cheats on you (adultery), unless you and your spouse planned the cheating in order to be eligible for a divorce, or you and your spouse lived together as a married couple after you found out about the cheating;1
  • is sentenced to any state penitentiary (jail/prison) without pardon;2
  • deserts you for one year;
  • is habitually drunk;
  • excessively and habitually uses opium, morphine, or other similar drugs;
  • habitually treats you in a cruel and inhuman way, including domestic abuse. Note: You can establish domestic abuse through your reliable testimony that the abuser:
    • caused or attempted to cause bodily injury;
    • caused or attempted to cause physical threat to put you in fear of immediate serious bodily harm; or
    • engaged in a pattern of behavior against you of threats or intimidation, emotional or verbal abuse, forced isolation, sexual extortion or sexual abuse, or stalking or aggravated stalking;
  • had a mental illness or intellectual disability at the time of your marriage and you did not know about it at the time;
  • was already married to someone else when you “married” each other;
  • was pregnant by someone else when you got married and you did not know about the pregnancy;
  • is related to you; or
  • is incurably mentally ill. Note: Your spouse must have been under regular treatment for the illness and confined in an institution for at least three years before filing for divorce, even if s/he was released and then returned back to the institution.Two doctors, including a state superintendent of a state psychiatric hospital or member of the institution where your spouse lives must make affidavits that s/he has an incurable mental illness.1

1 Miss. Code § 93-5-1
2Daughdrill v. Daughdrill, 180 Miss. 589 (1938)