What You Need to Know About Divorce in Meridian and Lauderdale County
Residents of Lauderdale County are very blessed to have two great judges on the bench. Even more unique is the feedback about practice in Chancery Court provided by Judge Larry Primeaux in his blog. He has a great page on taking care of business in Lauderdale and Clarke Counties from which the following is taken. Please take note the information is written mostly for the benefit of lawyers who practice in the 12th Chancery Court District, which includes both Lauderdale and Clarke Counties. Also, the 12th Chancery Court District is a participant in the Mississippi Electronic Courts (MEC) system, which means after a case is initiated, we can file documents from the convenience and privacy of our office.
- When we schedule a hearing date or an appointment with the court for you, we contact the court administrator in the appropriate county. We will be
given a trial date in a contested case only after we have certified to the court that all discovery (information exchange) has been completed,
and all preliminary matters have been concluded. This will require a status conference with the court.
- Ex Parte (routine) matters in Lauderdale County are scheduled Tuesday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and on Fridays, generally from 8:00 a.m. to Noon.
- Trials generally begin at 9:00 a.m. in Lauderdale County.
- Docket call (like roll call in school) for Rule 81 Days (aka Multiple Action Days; i.e., temporary hearings, contempts, Rule 81 return days, etc.) in Lauderdale County is at 8:30 a.m.
- All matters for Clarke County are scheduled for a day in term at 8:45 a.m.
- No matters for the record are heard on Fridays except by order of the court.
- Trial dates are available only after the attorneys have satisfied the court that all discovery and other preliminaries have been concluded and the case is ready for a full trial. Contested divorces require a Pre-Trial Order conforming to the court’s Form Z, which is available through the court administrator.
- A court reporter is generally not available on Friday except by order of the court.
Irreconcilable Differences Divorces
- One party is required to appear personally to testify about the jurisdictional facts and the property settlement agreement (PSA).
- A financial disclosure form is not required, but certain financial disclosures must be made in the body of the PSA when there is a provision for child support. Those requirements are detailed here.
- PSA’s with no provision for child support, even in shared custody arrangements, are not favored and likely will not be approved.
- In every case where the parties will share joint legal custody, one of them must be designated to have final decision-making authority. Agreements in joint physical and legal custody arrangements providing that the party having physical custody at the time will have final decision-making authority will not be approved.
- If one party is pro se (without represenation), we may be required to have that party in the court room when presenting the case, or we may be required to continue our hearing to get the pro se party to the court room, which may require postponement to a later day. The better practice may be to have the pro se litigant present in court on the day we expects to obtain the divorce judgment.
- All PSA’s with a child support provision must be accompanied by the statutory wage-withholding order.
Rule 81 Days formerly referred to as “Multiple Action Days”
- Temporary and contempt hearings and modification return days are set on multiple action days in Lauderdale County.
- Temporary hearings have precedence on multiple action days.
- Cases are arranged on the docket and called in order from the earliest pleading filed to the latest, and are set for hearing in that order.
- Any case heard on a multiple action day is limited to one hour per side; if more time is required to present the case, it should be continued to another day.
- There are generally two Rule 81 (Multiple Action) days scheduled each month in Lauderdale County.
- Temporary, contempt and modification hearings in Clarke County are set on the general docket for a day in term.
- Each side is allowed one hour for the presentation of all evidence, which is taken on the record.
- Temporary judgments will include a Scheduling Order, including a date for a pre-trial conference.
- Temporary judgments expire six (6) months after the date of entry, unless extended by court order for good cause.
For more general information about Mississippi divorce, please see the following:
- Legal Separation
- Business Owner Divorce
- Stay Home Mom Divorce
- Parental Rights
- Property Division and Alimony
- Child Support
- Post Divorce Modification
- High Profile Divorce
- Post Divorce Contempt
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Custody and Visitation
- No Fault Divorce
- Alienation of Affection
- Fault Based Divorce
- Prenuptial Agreements
We Can Help You
Here is the way this works. If you live in Meridian or Lauderdale County and are faced with the prospect of divorce, please call our office (601-898-8655) or confidentially submit a basic intake form so our staff can complete a standard conflict check. That’s when we make sure nothing on this end will stand in the way of us being helpful. Then, we will schedule a time for you to visit with one or more of our attorneys to go over your situation.
Laurderdale County Chancery Court
12th Chancery Court District
Lawrence “Larry” Primeaux
Charles "Charlie" Smith
500 Constitution Ave #105
Meridian, Mississippi 39301