Our Divorce Lawyers in Brookhaven, MS, Can Get You Through the Process

When contemplating divorce, there is so much that you need to consider. Your life will be different. Just thinking about those changes can seem overwhelming — and then, there are all the decisions you need to make. Among the most important are:

  • Whether you will co-parent and how
  • Calculating child support and whether there will be spousal maintenance
  • Figuring out how to divide your assets and debts.

Coping with the changes and making these decisions can at times seem impossible. This is where help from our experienced divorce lawyers in Brookhaven, MS, can be a huge benefit.

At Ringer, Lingold & Spencer, we help our clients navigate the Mississippi divorce process successfully and with the best possible outcome for themselves, their families, and their future. Call us today at (601) 845-5050 to schedule a free consultation with our Brookhaven divorce attorneys.

When you marry in Mississippi, you enter into a legal contract with your spouse that is governed by Mississippi divorce laws. If you want to end that contract, it has to be done through a legal process. Among other things, this process involves you and your spouse (or the court, if you cannot agree) making decisions regarding the following issues:

  • Parenting your children – including time-sharing and responsibility for making decisions for your children about education, medical care, and other important aspects of their lives
  • Child support – how you and your spouse will make sure your children have what they need, from clothing to food, and from health care to haircuts
  • Dividing assets and debts – including pensions and retirement accounts
  • Payment of alimony, if appropriate.

If you and your spouse can resolve these issues on your own, the outcome will be far better than the time, energy, expense, and emotional cost of having a trial to decide your and your family’s future.

How Our Divorce Attorneys in Brookhaven Can Help

In Mississippi, the divorce process starts when our divorce attorneys in Brookhaven file a Bill of Complaint for Divorce and when a judge issues a Final Judgment of Divorce that ends the marriage, makes provisions for parenting, allocates assets and debts, and provides for spousal support in the form of alimony.

Mississippi is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that married couples can file for divorce simply based on irreconcilable differences, as long as it is agreed upon by both spouses.

However, if the spouse who was sued (the defendant) doesn’t want a divorce, the spouse filing the complaint (the plaintiff) must claim and prove at least one of the following fault-based grounds for divorce in Mississippi:

  • Natural impotence
  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment
  • Willful desertion
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Habitual drug use
  • Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Insanity or idiocy
  • Bigamy
  • Spouse is pregnant by another person
  • The spouses are related to each other (incest)
  • Incurable insanity.

If you file an at-fault divorce, you have the plaintiff’s burden of proof. If you do not succeed, you will not get a divorce. To improve your chances, you need to document the problem, have witnesses, and produce credible evidence.

Fortunately, with the help of an experienced Brookhaven divorce attorney from Ringer, Lingold & Spencer, you can build credible evidence that will support your complaint for divorce before it is even filed.

How Property Is Divided in a Brookhaven Divorce

In Mississippi, the allocation of a divorcing couple’s assets and debts follows the theory of “equitable distribution,” which first requires the couple’s assets and debts to be classified as either marital or separate.

Assets and debts classified as marital will be divided equitably between the spouses, while those classified as separate will not be subject to division. In this case, “equitable” does not mean equal — instead, it means whatever the court determines to be fair.

When allocating assets and debts, courts weigh various factors, including:

  • Each party’s contributions to accumulating marital property
  • A spouse’s waste or disposal of marital property
  • The market and emotional values of the property
  • The value of each side’s separate property
  • Tax or other economic consequences of dividing the property
  • How much the award of property may end the need for alimony
  • Each party’s need for financial security.

Creating a full list of assets and debts and developing a strategy to protect your best interests takes experience and knowledge of Mississippi laws. Turn to our divorce lawyers in Brookhaven to guide you through the process. Call us for help today at (601) 845-5050.

How Is Alimony Determined in a Brookhaven Divorce?

Alimony is the term given to the payments made by one spouse for the support of the other after a divorce. Alimony is not a right; it is a remedy determined and ordered by the court after analyzing all the facts of the marriage.

Alimony can be awarded for a limited period of years or for the spouse’s lifetime and can be paid weekly or monthly, or in a lump sum. The court may also order temporary alimony if such payments are necessary while the divorce is pending.

Courts weigh various factors when determining whether alimony is just and the amount that should be paid, including:

  • Maintaining living standards
  • The spouses’ health and ability to earn income
  • Both parties’ sources of income
  • The reasonable needs of the receiving spouse and children
  • The necessary living expenses of the paying spouse
  • Their estimated income taxes.

How Do Judges Make Custody Decisions in a Brookhaven Divorce?

Child custody in Mississippi is broken down into two important categories:

  1. Physical custody
  2. Legal custody

Physical custody determines with which parent the children will live. Legal custody, on the other hand, determines which parent will have the legal authority to make major decisions for the children concerning healthcare, religious upbringing, education, and other matters.

One parent may be granted primary or sole legal custody. That parent then makes major decisions for the children’s welfare. However, if the parents are both granted the right to make these decisions together, they are said to share joint legal custody.

When parents cannot agree on custody and take their dispute to court, a judge must make the decision for them. In this regard, courts generally favor arrangements where the children spend time with each parent.

To determine which parent should obtain custody (both physical and legal), a court will apply a “best interests of the child” standard. This means that the court will factor in things like:

  • The wishes of the parties and the child
  • The health of the parents, and
  • The economic status of the parents.

The court will also consider negative factors, such as any history of drug and alcohol abuse or violence on the part of either parent.

Our team at Ringer, Lingold & Spencer will help prepare you for the potential outcome of the court’s custody decision and can position you to have the best possible custody agreement. Turn to our Brookhaven divorce lawyer to protect the interests of you and your children.

How Much Child Support Will Be Paid?

Child support, which is often determined in conjunction with child custody, is a payment from one parent to the other used to meet the expenses of their dependent/minor children. This payment is made in response to the court’s order and can be enforced through the court.

While both parents have legal duty to support their children, the noncustodial parent (the one spending less than half the time with the children) pays child support to the custodial parent (the one with whom the children live the majority of the time). Once ordered, child support must be paid for a child until they turn 21 or become legally emancipated before the age of 21.

The amount of child support to be paid will depend on factors similar to those used when determining alimony and child custody. Base child support in Mississippi is determined by using a set of guidelines that take into account the number of children, their ages, any special needs for a child, and the incomes of both parents.

A judge can order more or less child support than suggested by the child support guidelines. It is our Brookhaven divorce attorneys’ job to push the judge in your direction on this and other issues regarding your divorce.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in Brookhaven, MS

  • What is the residency requirement for divorce in Mississippi?

    One of the parties to the divorce must have been living in Mississippi for at least six months before filing for the divorce.

  • Is there a waiting period for a divorce in Mississippi?

    Yes. There is a mandatory waiting period for divorce based on irreconcilable differences of 60 days before the divorce can be finalized.

  • Can child support be modified?

    Yes. Like alimony, the amount of child support ordered to be paid can be modified up or down. However, there must be a substantial change in circumstances.

  • Can parents make their own child support arrangements?

    Yes. Parents can negotiate and agree on child support arrangements, then present the agreement in court. A couple’s agreed-upon child support arrangements will not be enforceable until they have been approved by a judge and entered as a court order.

  • What does a divorce lawyer in Brookhaven do?

    After evaluating your case, our Brookhaven divorce lawyers will advise you on your legal rights, represent you in court proceedings, accompany you to mediation or collaborative divorce meetings, advise you with regard to settlement options, draft any legal documents needed for your divorce, and guide you through the divorce process from start to finish.

Why Choose Ringer, Lingold & Spencer to Represent You in Your Brookhaven Divorce

At Ringer, Lingold & Spencer, we assist Mississippians with dissolving their marriage, so they can begin a new life for themselves and their children. If you are contemplating divorce, or have already decided on getting divorced in Brookhaven, you will benefit greatly from the help of a skilled legal professional, who can effectively negotiate on your behalf and argue your case in court. There is simply too much at stake for you to try to handle this alone.

You can trust our Brookhaven divorce lawyers to be truthful with you, fight aggressively to protect your rights, and obtain winning results for you.

We provide faithful service to our clients, no matter the challenges they face. Call us at (601) 845-5050 for a consultation today. We are dedicated to clients in the Brookhaven area and believe in supporting our community when people are going through this difficult transition.

Ringer, Lingold & Spencer. Live Here. Work Here. Love Here.

Attorney Amanda Lingold Spencer

Amanda’s practice focuses on family law. She is warm and compassionate with clients and tough on opponents. Her legal work centers on child custody, divorce, adoption, contempt and modification actions. Amanda is adept at both negotiating and litigating, and her no-nonsense approach to legal matters means she’s honest, forthright and direct in assessing each legal case.
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