When a marriage is breaking down and it becomes obvious that divorce may be approaching, it can be emotional and overwhelming for everyone involved. However, there are several things that spouses can do to prepare for divorce if they know that they are likely headed in that direction. It is never a bad idea to prepare ahead of time so that the divorce process runs as smoothly as possible.
Basic Divorce Requirements
The first part of starting the divorce process is determining whether you meet the state residency requirement. To file for divorce in Mississippi, you must be a Mississippi resident for at least six months at the time of filing. Most people satisfy this condition easily, but if you have not lived in Mississippi for at least six months, you may need to wait until that six-month period has passed. Residency may be proved in many ways including but not limited to filing for a homestead exemption, registering to vote, purchasing an in-state drivers’ license, and so on.
You will also need to consult with a Mississippi divorce attorney to see if your situation qualifies for divorce. Mississippi is one of only two states that requires a spouse to prove fault grounds to get a divorce if the parties cannot agree to divorce. If your spouse is willing to agree to a divorce, you can file for irreconcilable differences divorce. This is a type of divorce that is based on the agreement and consent of both parties. If your spouse does not agree to a divorce, you will need to file for divorce on fault grounds, which simply means that the “innocent” spouse is alleging some wrongdoing by the “at-fault” spouse as a ground for divorce. Divorce grounds include things like adultery, habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, incarceration, and habitual drunkenness or drug use, among other things.
An important part of preparing for divorce is gathering the proper documents and records. Divorce affects a person’s children, living situation, property, and finances. Divorce will be a much easier process if both parties are prepared to provide all of the necessary documentation.
Some of the necessary documentation includes:
- Birth certificates, social security cards, and voter registration cards
- School registration information
- Bank statements
- House deed or lease contract and mortgage information
- Car title and loan information
- Credit card statements
- Water and electric bills
- Income tax returns
- Medical records
- Legal documents
- Proof of current income and pension documents
- Wills and trusts
- Any home, auto, health, dental, or life insurance policies
If you file for divorce, you will be required to produce many of these documents at some point, so it is helpful to gather as many of these documents as you can and keep them in one place. If there are certain documents that you do not have, you should do your best to obtain a copy of them as soon as possible. Copies should also be made and kept in secure places.
Protect Your Assets
If possible, do not sell or buy any large assets (like cars, motorcycles, houses, boats, etc.) until your divorce is finalized. Buying or selling these types of large assets during the early stages of divorce may be seen by the court as an attempt to trick your spouse or hide information from them, which will not be favorable to your case.
Stay Out of Trouble
It is also very important to refrain from doing anything that your spouse could use against you, such as adultery/cheating, heavy drinking, or gambling. If you have recently been involved in this type of activity, it is in your best interest to refrain until the divorce is over. Don’t do anything that could cause you to be arrested. If children are involved in your divorce, your character will be questioned and an arrest record can reflect poorly on you. Part of planning for divorce is making sure that the court sees you as stable and trustworthy.
Choose an Attorney
Contact a qualified divorce attorney early in the process so that the attorney can help with your pre-divorce planning. Your attorney will be able to tell you which documents you need to gather, how to protect your assets during the process, and how to ensure that the court sees you as stable and trustworthy.
Arguably the most important part of starting the divorce process is finding the right divorce attorney. If you have been searching the Mississippi area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Over the years, we have helped numerous families pursue favorable outcomes. Although facing divorce is not a pleasant experience, there are many potential strategies that can be used to protect assets and provide for family members in the event of divorce. Call/contact us today for your free consultation to learn more.
Please also see us on mississippi-lawyers.com and view our reviews on avvo.com, superlawyers.com, and martindale.com. Our email address is mississippi-lawyers.com and our office phone number is (601) 948 – 4444 option 1.