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Mississippi Alimony

The Mississippi Court may award either party alimony, also called maintenance, if such an award is determined to be equitable and just.

Couples in Mississippi may sign prenuptial agreements that limit alimony awards. According to Mississippi code Section 93-3-7, the prenuptial agreement can include alimony terms and outline any details related to the payments, such as the amount one spouse must pay and a payment schedule. The agreement can also address defaults when alimony is not paid, as in the case of adultery.

The court may consider marital fault and dissipation of assets.

In Mississippi alimony influences the distribution of property, and it can become intricately involved in a divorce settlement. When spouses are unable to reach an agreement on this issue, the Chancery Court can order support on a case-by-case basis.

Types of Alimony

Mississippi allows for lump-sum, periodic, and rehabilitative alimony, according to the Mississippi Bar Association.

A lump-sum payment is a single payment. Periodic payments are usually monthly payments that must be paid over time. Lump-sum payments can be paid in payments, if necessary, until the total amount is paid, while periodic payments do not have an established total amount.

Unless one of spouses commits fraud, lump-sum alimony payments must be paid and cannot be modified, according to the Bar Association. These alimony awards must be paid even if the recipient spouse later remarries or the payor dies, when it is paid from the decedents estate. Lump-sum alimony is intended as an equalizer between the parties to serve equity. Lump-sum alimony may be payable in a single lump sum or fixed periodic installments. Lump sum alimony may not be modified.

Periodic alimony provides the recipient with income indefinitely. Periodic alimony terminates upon the remarriage of the recipient or the death of either spouse, and it may be increased, decreased, or terminated by modification of court based on changing circumstances. The modification may be made only upon order of the court, not unilaterally by one of the parties.

Rehabilitative alimony allows one party to receive support from the other for a fixed, definite duration. It allows the recipient to become self-supporting without becoming impoverished in the interim, so he or she may start anew without becoming destitute. Rehabilitative alimony is not intended as an equalizer between the parties. Rehabilitative alimony may be increased, decreased or terminated.

Factors Considered by the Court

Alimony is discretionary in Mississippi, and according to the Mississippi Code - Section 93 - Chapters: 5-23,the court makes a support award based on what it believes is fair to both spouses. The court will consider many factors, including but not limited to:

  • the income and expenses of each spouse;
  • the spouses health and medical condition;
  • the spouses needs and debt obligations;
  • the custodial award;
  • the ages of the spouses;
  • the standard of living while married;
  • tax consequences;
  • any marital fault or misconduct; and
  • dissipation of assets.

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