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Mississippi Family Law

The Divorce Card

 The guys at my old office were big tennis players. I got into it for a while. As you know if you play or have ever watched tennis, to win a game beyond a "deuce" score which means both players have scored three points, a player must win two consecutive points. This type of tennis scoring is known as "advantage scoring." In “ad” scoring, the player who wins the next point after deuce is said to have the advantage. If the player with the advantage wins the next point, that player has won the game.  Read More

Cell Phone Bills Can Talk

I did not get my first cell phone until well into my legal career.  Almost everyone has one today.  Cell phones have changed life as we know it- in some ways for the good and in some ways for the bad.  Cell phones have made checking email, finding movie times, checking football scores, updating your Facebook status and pretty much everything else you see in an iPhone commercial easy.   But they have also made driving more treacherous, unplugging from work impossible and they have increased the temptations of intimate communication with someone else’s spouse. Read More

When It's About the Principle

If you know our team at R+A, or if you have checked out our biographies, you know there's not a mental health professional in the bunch. We attorneys are called counselors, but that means counselors at law. We are technically no more qualified to give advice on psychological issues than the next person, although it seems we are often called to by well-intentioned clients on a daily basis.  Read More

Prenuptial Agreement? How Romantic.

Part of being a Mississippi divorce lawyer inevitably involves writing and interpreting prenuptial agreements.  While I am not the biggest fan of prenups in first marriages, they have their place in the world, and they are by no means a new development in the law or in culture.  In fact, anthropologists tell us that couples have been contracting marital rights for thousands of years. If anything, I would submit that there is much less thought going into the financial component of marriage than ever before. Read More

A Mississippi Family Law Trial and Miracle on 34th Street

I am embarrassed that I have just watched Miracle on 34th Street for the first time this Christmas. This is especially embarrassing and a little telling about my sense of humor because I have seen Christmas Vacation about a hundred times. There is absolutely no wonder why Miracle on 34th Street has survived for over 60 years. It is a classic, feel-good Christmas story. I had no idea that the climax of the movie played out in a courtroom. The family law attorney in me could not help but think what a great deal could be learned about a family law trial by the cast of characters and the ensuing drama.  Read More

Your Kids and the Holidays

Next week is Thanksgiving and I can always expect a few calls from clients that are finding it impossible to work with their spouse to figure out a schedule.  Whether you are living under a child custody order or not, the best advice I can give someone who does not live with their children’s other parent in Mississippi is to be flexible and make the most of the time that you have.   Read More

The Storm Before the Calm

There is a period of time before a court gives divorcing parties rules to follow that I like to call the “Storm before the Calm.” This is that time of delirium that people experience when the reality that their life is about to significantly change comes into focus- albeit usually blurred by cycling emotion. It is usually precipitated by someone moving out, finding out that their spouse is engaged in an affair or any other event of a life altering proportion that affects marriage. This is the period of anarchy when people act really stupid and do and say a lot of damaging stuff. The funny thing is that the rules during this time are actually no different than before. Nevertheless, I often get questions like the following:  Read More

Adultery

I was shocked at how common adultery is when I first started practicing law. Adultery does not require proof of sexual intercourse. Adultery can be proven if it is shown that the offending party had the inclination and opportunity to consummate an adulterous relationship. You can use your imagination as to how this can be shown in court. An adulterous inclination may be exposed by either the defendant’s infatuation with a particular person of the opposite sex or a general adulterous nature. Both parts of the test are necessary components. Just because a wife is a flirt and seems to have a promiscuous inclination does not mean that her husband would be entitled to a divorce on the ground of adultery if he cannot prove that she also had the opportunity to establish a physical relationship with someone else. Circumstantial evidence which leads to two or more reasonable explanations of what could have happened is not enough. Read More

Habitual Cruel and Inhuman Conduct

The most commonly pled but most difficult ground for divorce to prove is Cruelty. Habitual cruel and inhuman conduct is a culmination of conduct perpetrated by one spouse against the other over a period of time that makes the marital relationship insufferable to the innocent spouse and which endangers life, limb, health or safety or which creates a reasonable belief that one is in danger, rendering the relationship unsafe for the party seeking relief. One can also prove cruelty by showing the conduct of the offending spouse is so unnatural and infamous that it makes the marriage revolting to the point that it is impossible to discharge the duties of the marriage thus destroying the basis for its continuance.  Read More

Fault

The more aggressive way that one can get a divorce is if you or your spouse has a reason. Sometimes I have no choice but to encourage a client to proceed on a contested basis if there are pressing financial circumstances, even if it be an audible such as a request for separate maintenance or partition of real estate, but more on that another time.  For a divorce to be granted on a fault basis there must be a hearing in open court.  Read More

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