Divorce can be intimidating and disruptive on many levels, and the best way to minimize the impacts on your life is to do your homework so that you can protect yourself as you try to move to the next chapter.
That’s why we put together this guide on filing for divorce in Mississippi.
Let’s dive in.
- Gather Important Information
- Decide How You Will Proceed with Your Divorce
- Fill Out the Necessary Forms
- File Your Documents
- Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers
- Frequently Asked Questions About Filing for Divorce in Mississippi
Gather Important Information
Start this critical step as soon as you can. Having complete financial and personal records immediately available can save you time and money moving forward. You will need to access all types of information to help you make your best possible case and craft a favorable settlement.
It will take time to pull together your information, and you must be patient and thorough as you move forward. Keeping your accumulated records organized is also crucial.
We’ve created a Divorce Information Checklist you can access as part of our article The Ultimate Divorce Checklist: The Information You Need to Prepare for Divorce.
Decide How You Will Proceed with Your Divorce
How you decide to move forward will set in motion many other processes and decisions you will have to make.
You have several possible ways to pursue a divorce in Mississippi. Based on your circumstances and your relationship with your spouse, you can save time and money if you reduce a divorce to a business transaction that needs to be handled instead of a battle to be won.
It’s not easy, but it is a favorable option to consider if the situation warrants.
To learn more about all of your divorce options in Mississippi, review our article What are the Types of Divorce? This will help you reach the best possible process for your particular case.
Fill Out the Necessary Forms
There are several forms you will need to complete depending on the circumstances of your marriage. The most common of these include:
- Bill of Complaint for Divorce
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- Financial Disclosure Statements
- Affidavit Regarding the Children
- Child Support Computation Worksheet
- Child Support Guidelines
- Acknowledgment, Acceptance of Service and Appearance
- Request for Hearing
- Notice of Hearing
- Decree of Divorce
Do not sign any documents until you are in the presence of a notary. Also, court employees cannot provide legal advice, but they will check to make sure your forms are correctly completed.
File Your Documents
Completed forms are filed with the court in the county where you or your spouse have lived for at least six months. You will need to file your divorce complaint and related documents with the clerk’s office of the chancery court.
You must then serve your spouse with copies of the divorce papers to legally make them aware of the divorce petition.
Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers
After filing paperwork in Mississippi, you must legally notify your spouse.
You can also serve papers by mailing them first-class with postage prepaid to the defendant. If the sender receives no acknowledgment of service under this rule within 20 days after the date of mailing, service of the summons and complaint can be made in other ways.
One of these other ways is by proof of service by publication. The summons is published in a local newspaper for three consecutive weeks where the court action is pending. If there is no newspaper, then the notice can be posted at the county courthouse. After completion of publication, the defendant has 30 days to respond.
A summons is served on a person outside Mississippi by sending divorce papers to the respondent by certified mail, return receipt requested. The envelope is marked “restricted delivery.”
Service by this method is complete on the date of delivery as evidenced by the return receipt or by the returned envelope marked “Refused.”
Frequently Asked Questions About Filing for Divorce in Mississippi
How much does it cost to file for a divorce in Mississippi?
When you get a divorce in Mississippi, you will need to pay filing fees and process of service fees. Filing fees run around $50. This amount will vary slightly from county to county.
You must also legally serve your spouse with forms once they are filed. Fees will vary depending on the method you choose but expect to pay $25 or more. You cannot serve the papers yourself.
If you don’t know where your spouse is, then you can publish the divorce complaint in a local newspaper. The publication fee will run about $65 to meet legal requirements.
Read More: How Much Does Divorce Cost?
Can divorce fees be waived in Mississippi?
If you can’t afford to pay the filing fee, you can request a fee waiver and ask the court for relief.
Can I file for a divorce online in Mississippi?
No. You can get online help completing forms, but you will need to go to the courthouse and file your forms in person.
The best resource I’ve found for filling out divorce forms online is 3 Step Divorce.
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- $299 flat-fee with no hidden charges
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- Initial questionnaire takes less than 1 hour
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- Unlimited access to support agents by phone or email
- Immediate access to completed forms
- Assurance of 100% court-approval (or your money back!)
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You can learn more by reading our 3StepDivorce review.
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How long does it take to get a divorce in Mississippi?
When you and your spouse agree to a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, you must wait for a minimum of 60 days after you file before the court hears your case. If spouses also agree on things such as child custody, visitation, alimony, a division of assets and other important issues, the judge will include those terms in the final agreement.
If both spouses agree to divorce based on irreconcilable differences but can’t reach agreement on various issues, then the court will decide those issues as part of a trial. This can add several additional weeks to the process.
In a contested and fully litigated divorce, a final resolution may not be possible for several months or one to two years.
What are the residency requirements to file for a divorce in Mississippi?
To file for divorce in Mississippi, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 60 days before the filing paperwork.
Can I file for divorce in Mississippi without using a lawyer?
Yes. You can save money going this route. Not using a lawyer works best in an uncontested divorce when both sides can agree on all the issues.
If you can’t figure things out like child custody, alimony, or a division of assets on your own, it makes sense to hire an attorney to assist you.
Can I get a divorce in Mississippi if I am pregnant?
You can file for a divorce in Mississippi while you are pregnant, but the court will postpone the divorce until after you give birth. This makes it easier to address child support and custody issues, and the state does not want to make minor children illegitimate.
How is my divorce affected if I am a member of the military in Mississippi?
Under the federal law that applies in Mississippi and all states, service members and their spouses have the option to file for divorce in the state where the spouse that filed resides, in the state where the service member is stationed or in the state where the service member is a legal resident.
The grounds for a military divorce in Mississippi are the same as those for a civilian divorce. You can either cite irreconcilable differences or cite one of 12 grounds as the basis for your complaint.
Military service members have certain protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. They can postpone a divorce while they are overseas or otherwise not able to adequately respond to the petition due to military service commitments. A service member can waive delaying the divorce by signing paperwork that will allow the divorce to proceed uncontested.
Mississippi state guidelines determine child support and spousal support, but these awards may not exceed 60% of a servicemember’s pay and allowances.
Retirement benefits and how they are divided are governed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. A key element of the Act is that the former spouse must have been married to the servicemember for a minimum of 10 years while the military member has served on active duty to be able to share in any retirement benefits.
Looking for more great tips about filing for divorce? Check out a few of our favorite resources:
- How to File for Divorce
- How Should I Prepare for Divorce
- What Are The Types of Divorce
- How Should I Prepare for Divorce