Grounds for Divorce in Mississippi: 12 Reasons You Can Divorce Your Spouse

A man holds a number indicating the number of grounds for divorce

There are twelve fault grounds for divorce in Mississippi. Also, couples can initiate a no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences if they do not blame each other for the marriage breakup. The list of legal grounds for divorce and short explanations of them is provided below.

1. The Marriage Is Irretrievably Broken

If irreconcilable differences between spouses make further living together impossible, it is enough reason to start a divorce. Irretrievable breakdown is the only grounds for no-fault divorce in the state and applies to agreed divorces. It means that:

  • both parties do not object to filing based on this ground,
  • they either file together or a respondent is served by a petitioner or signs a waiver of service,
  • a responding spouse is not going to file a counterclaim.

If you go through an irreconcilable differences divorce, and there are no disagreements between you and your spouse on property division, child support, alimony, etc., you can even do without a lawyer. If completing paperwork is challenging, you can always order it from a reliable online service.

2. Adultery by either Party After the Marriage

The wife caught her husband cheating, which will be grounds for their divorce
To obtain a divorce based on adultery in Mississippi, you generally need to provide witness testimonies, photographs, or other relevant proof of the infidelity.

Adultery, which refers to one spouse engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage without the other spouse’s consent, is one of the fault grounds for divorce in Mississippi. Please note that in fault-based divorces, it is necessary to provide irrefutable evidence of the other party’s misconduct.

If your spouse refuses to divorce on this ground, you can still apply for a marriage dissolution. Even if your spouse refuses to respond to the divorce petition, the case will proceed, and the court can potentially issue a default judgment. It means the judge will consider the claims made by a petitioner without the other party’s involvement in the divorce process.

3. Desertion That Has Lasted for at Least One Year

If one party has intentionally left the marital home and stayed away from the other spouse for at least one year, the abandoned spouse can initiate a divorce based on this reason.

4. Cruel Treatment (Either Physical or Mental)

If there are cases of severe abuse in the marriage, endangering the life, health, and safety of a suffering spouse or children, it is undoubtedly a valid reason for divorce. Cruel treatment can be both physical and mental.

5. Habitual Drunkenness

The person filing for divorce must prove that the other spouse has a history of alcohol abuse that has had a detrimental effect on the marriage and that this problem still exists at the time of trial. 

6. Habitual Drug Use

If your spouse is addicted to drugs, causing significant problems in your marriage and making marital life unbearable, you can get a divorce. As with any other fault-based ground, you will need to collect evidence to prove your claims in court.

7. Bigamy

Bigamy is when someone is married to more than one person simultaneously. It is an official divorce ground since marrying more than one person at a time is illegal in the state.

8. Intellectual Disability at the Time of Marriage or Incurable Insanity (Institutionalized for at Least Three Years)

If, at the time of marriage registration, one spouse had a mental illness or some kind of intellectual disability, but the other spouse was not aware of that, the latter can file for divorce.

If one party is currently mentally ill, cannot be cured, and has been in a mental institution for at least three years before the divorce process is started, this may be a reason for dissolution. The court will likely require medical proof of the condition and when it developed.

9. Natural Impotency

Natural impotence is a valid ground for divorce if it existed at the time of marriage and the spouse filing for divorce did not know about it. If a person, due to their physical state, cannot engage in a sexual relationship, the other party has a right to end such a marriage through divorce.

10. Consanguinity

If the parties are related by blood, and the degree of consanguinity is such that the marriage is prohibited by law, either spouse can start a divorce process.

11. Pregnancy of the Wife by Another Man at the Time of Marriage

In Mississippi, if a woman is pregnant not from her husband but from another man during a marriage, it is a reason for divorce.

12. Spouse Being Sentenced to a Penitentiary While Married

A person can file for dissolution of marriage if their spouse has committed a crime and received a jail term.

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