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Questions About Divorce

Any divorce, regardless of whether there are children involved, is a painful ordeal. Discussing in great detail sensitive family issues such as infidelity, custody of children, division of assets and child support can be quite stressful. Even amicable divorces bring with them a certain level of stress because the decisions, involving child custody, visitation rights and property division, emotionally impact all involved.

In this difficult time, it is important to have an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure that you are treated fairly. Your divorce lawyer, in addition to being well versed in the law, should have experience in negotiating and trying cases. During the course of his 17 year career, Mel Coxwell has successfully negotiated the settlement of thousands of cases. When settlement was not possible, Mr. Coxwell aggressively represented his clients in trials in Federal District Courts, Circuit Courts, Chancery Courts, County Courts, Justice Courts and Municipal Courts throughout Mississippi. Mel Coxwell represents clients in divorce proceedings from all over Mississippi including Jackson, Madison, Ridgeland, Pearl and Brandon.

The following are just some of the questions we are asked most often:

How quickly can I obtain a divorce?

A divorce based on irreconcilable differences (no fault) can be granted sixty days after filing the complaint for divorce. Divorces based on fault grounds generally take much longer.

What is a temporary hearing?

If the parties are unable to agree on child custody, support, use and possession of the marital domicile, use and possession of automobiles, and payment of existing debts, the Court will hold a hearing to temporarily decide these issues until the case is concluded.

How will our property be divided?

Mississippi is an equitable distribution state. All property acquired during the course of the marriage is presumed to be marital property. Once the judge in your case has classified each asset and liability as marital or non-marital, the marital property will be divided equitably. Often this produces a 50-50 split between the parties, but equitable distribution does not require a 50-50 split. A judge's decision will be based on the unique facts of each case.

How are child custody issues decided?

The factors used by a Judge to award custody include, age, health and sex of the child, who was the child's primary caregiver prior to separation, parenting skills of parents, capacity to provide primary child care and employment responsibilities, physical and mental health of the parents, age of the parents, alcohol and drug use, emotional ties of parent and child, moral fitness, home, school and community record of child, preference of a child twelve years or older, stability of home and employment of each parent and any other relevant factors.

What are the various types of custody?

A custody awards entails both legal and physical custody. Joint legal custody is typically awarded and gives both parents equal decision making authority regarding health, education and welfare. At the same time, one parent will be awarded the physical custody and the other parent will be awarded visitation. If the parents live in close proximity and can co-operate, it is possible for the judge to award joint physical custody.

Are my spouse's retirement benefits considered marital property?

Yes. However the valuation and division of retirement accounts depends on both state and federal law. Mr. Coxwell will explain Mississippi law to you while he works on your case.

What are the different types of divorce?

Each state varies on the types of divorces it grants and the components of those divorces. In Mississippi, there are three types (or reasons) for divorce:

  1. The first type is due to irreconcilable differences and is agreed upon by both spouses. In this type of divorce, no establishment of fault is required. The couple simply agrees that the marriage is irreparable and that divorce is the only option; it is also referred to as a "no-fault divorce." For this type of divorce to proceed, both parties must agree to all the terms set forth in the divorce settlement.
  2. The second type is irreconcilable differences but the parties do not agreeon all the terms. In this type of divorce, the disputed terms will be presented to a judge who will then make a binding decision regarding division of assets, child custody and visitation rights. Both parties must agree to submit the disputed terms to the judge.
  3. The third type of divorce is a "fault grounds divorce," in which one spouse sues the other for any of the following:
  • Adultery
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug use
  • Cruelty
  • Abandonment

In this type of divorce, a judge will oversee a trial, and the lawyer must prove the guilt of the accused spouse. If the couple does not settle on their own, the judge will decide the financial and custodial aspects of the divorce.

When choosing a divorce lawyer, it is so very important to choose one who will listen to you and make recommendations that will help you arrive at the best outcome possible. If you are contemplating divorce and you live in central Mississippi, please consider Jackson divorce lawyer, Mel Coxwell. If you would like to have your case heard, please contact the Law Offices of Mel Coxwell today to schedule your confidential consultation.