Divorce Actions

 

IN THE CHANCERY COURT of the SECOND CHANCERY COURT DISTRICT

STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

JASPER, NEWTON and SCOTT COUNTIES

Divorce actions may be filed by a pro se litigant [Defined as:  For Himself; in his own behalf; in person. Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., and Cyclopedia of Law, 2nd Ed.] or by a licensed attorney. If you elect to represent yourself, you must be aware of and follow all statutes concerning divorce actions as well as all court rules.

While pro se litigants are afforded some leniency, they “must be held to substantially the same standards of litigation conduct as members of the bar.” Sumrell v. State, 972 So.2d 572 (Miss.2008), citing Perry v. Andy, 858 So.2d 143, 146 (Miss.2003).

The following information is not intended as legal advise. What follows is general information regarding the prosecution of divorce actions in the State of Mississippi, intended only as an overview of statutory and procedural requirements.

DIVORCE – IN GENERAL

For Mississippi statutory law concerning actions for divorce, please see §93-5-1, et. seq, at http://michie.com/mississippi/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp=

See Also Uniform Chancery Court Rules at http://www.mssc.state.ms.us/rules/msrulesofcourt/uniform_chancery_rules.pdf, including, but not limited to: Rule 8.00 – 8.06, and Rule 2.00 – 2.09.

See also Local Rules for Second Chancery Court District of Mississippi at http://www.mssc.state.ms.us/rules/chanceryrules/2ndChyRecodification.pdf.

Rule 8.05 of the Uniform Chancery Court Rules provides that unless excused by Order of the Court for good cause shown, each party in every domestic case involving economic issues and/or property division shall provide the opposite party or counsel with a Financial Statement. Rule 8.05 does not except pro se litigants from compliance. Please see Rule 8.05 for directions regarding preparation and filing of the Financial Statement form. A link to the Rule 8.05 Financial Statement is contained below. See Kalman v Kalman, http://www.mssc.state.ms.us/Images/OPINIONS/CO21631.PDF.

DIVORCE – CONTESTED GROUNDS

  • The original pleading should be styled COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE and must be filed with the appropriate Chancery Clerk.
  • An appropriate Summon, either Rule 4 or Rule 81, or both, should be submitted to the Clerk for issuance at the time of filing of the Complaint.
  • It is the filer’s responsibility to prepare the appropriate Summons to be submitted to the Clerk for issuance.
  • The Summons should be served upon the Defendant pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • See Uniform Chancery Court Rule 8.05 concerning the filing of a financial statement and statement of assets. Rule 8.05 Financial Statement Form may be obtained here: PDF XLS ODS
  • The Court requires the filing of completed 8.05 Financial Statements if there are minor children [under the age of 21 years] of the marriage. If not, a MOTION TO BE RELIEVED FROM FILING RULE 8.05 FINANCIAL STATEMENT may be filed and submitted to the Court with a proposed order granting same which Motion and Order recites “good cause” as provided for in the Rule. The Court will consider such motion and enter an appropriate Order prior to the date of hearing.
  • If no response to the Complaint is timely filed, contact the Court Administrator to obtain an appropriate hearing date.
  • On the date of hearing, please be present and on time, and have your corroborating witness present.
  • A proposed Judgment should be submitted to the Chancellor at the beginning of the hearing.

DIVORCE – IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES

  • For Mississippi statutory law concerning specifically divorces on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, see §93-5-2 at:
  • http://michie.com/mississippi/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp=.
  • The original pleading should be styled JOINT COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE – IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES, if it is a joint complaint signed and filed by both husband and wife.
  • The parties MUST submit to the Court a signed and notarized agreement pursuant to §93-5-2 prior to the entry of a judgment. It is not sufficient that the proposed judgment contains the agreement of the parties. THERE MUST BE A SEPARATE WRITTEN AGREEMENT.
  • If the original pleading is filed by one party only, it should be styled COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE – IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES. The party filing the Complaint should be designated as the Plaintiff and the other party as the Defendant.
  • If the original pleading is signed by one party only, an appropriate Summon, either Rule 4 or Rule 81, or both, should be submitted to the Clerk for issuance at the time of filing of the Complaint. Rule 4 process is required for the divorce action and Rule 81 process is required for a temporary hearing, if necessary. Alternatively, the Defendant [the spouse not filing the complaint] can file a Waiver of Process, which must be filed pursuant to Rule 4 of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • It is the filer’s responsibility to prepare the appropriate Summons to be submitted to the Clerk for issuance.
  • It is not necessary to file a Waiver of Process if both parties have signed the original pleading.
  • If a Summons is issued, it should be served upon the Defendant pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • See Uniform Chancery Court Rule 8.05 concerning the filing of a financial statement and statement of assets. Rule 8.05 Financial Statement Form may be obtained here. PDF XLS ODS
  • The Court requires the filing of completed 8.05 Financial Statements if there are minor children [under the age of 21 years] of the marriage. If not, a MOTION TO BE RELIEVED FROM FILING RULE 8.05 FINANCIAL STATEMENT may be filed and submitted to the Court with a proposed order granting same which Motion and Order recites “good cause” as provided for in the Rule. The Court will consider such motion and enter an appropriate Order prior to the date of hearing.
  • The agreement of the parties must make adequate and sufficient provision for the custody and maintenance of any children of that marriage and for the settlement of all property rights between the parties.
  • Please see §93-5-24 regarding custody of minor children.
  • A Standard Visitation Schedule is recommended by the Court unless there is good cause for deviation therefrom.
  • Please see §43-19-101 and 103 for guidelines for the award of child support.
  • Coming Soon! Child Support Calculator.
  • After the expiration of the sixty days waiting period, a proposed JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE – IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES along with an appropriate Wage Withholding Order should be forwarded to the Court for entry.
  • In the event a proposed Judgment is not received by the Court, the matter will be set for hearing and entry of judgment and notice of such setting provided to the attorney/pro se litigants.