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Modification in Mississippi
There are certain aspects to a divorce that are always modifiable. They are permanent periodic alimony, child custody, visitation and child support. For the most part, there must have been a material change in circumstances since the entry of the last Order, usually the Final Judgment, unless there have been other modification actions that were not contemplated at the time of the last Order. For child custody there is the additional requirement that the change in circumstances be such that it has had an adverse affect on the children and that a modification of custody would be in the children's best interest. For visitation, there is the additional requirement that the current visitation schedule is not working. For there to be an increase in child support, usually a showing that the children's expenses have increased and the paying parent's income is now greater will merit a serious consideration by the Judge. Child support decreases are uncommon, but possible.
There is a misconception among Mississippians that a child may choose the parent with whom he or she wishes to live upon reaching the age of twelve. This is simply not the case. There must be a showing of material changes in circumstances since the last Order which have had an adverse affect on the child and that their best interest, coupled with the parental selection. While our law on this topic is well settled, many chancellors believe that if a child has made a choice, it should be honored. This is not the law.
In order to file for divorce in Mississippi, a party must give grounds for divorce and prove them with evidence or testimony. Mississippi recognizes the following grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences (which is no-fault) and other grounds that include impotence, adultery, incarceration, felony conviction, drug or alcohol abuse, insanity for at least a three-year period, the wifes pregnancy by someone else without the husband being aware, willful desertion for at least one year, cruel and inhuman treatment, incest, and one spouse lacking the mental capability to consent to terminate a marriage.
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