Irreconcilable Differences (“ID divorce”) is Mississippi’s answer to the NO FAULT* divorce. Mississippi is not a true NO FAULT state. In MS both parties must agree to the divorce and to all the terms of the divorce, including ALL issues of child custody, child support, equitable distribution (how MS divides your stuff) and alimony, if any. Every issue has to be agreed upon to gain an ID divorce***. If ALL can be agreed upon, an ID divorce is just about the quickest and least expensive way to get a divorce in MS.
1) File a Joint Complaint for Divorce (begins the 60 day waiting period**),
2) Exchange Financial Statements (called an 8.05),
3) Draft and sign an Agreement stating all of the details of who gets what, and who pays what (called a Property Settlement Agreement or PSA),
4) Draft and sign a Final Judgment (the actual divorce), and finally
5) Present all to the Judge for approval.
The Judge will review the Filings, Financial Statements and Agreement, and if the judge finds it “adequate and sufficient” will sign off. Upon the signed Final Judgment being filed and recorded by the clerk- You are DIVORCED.
Well that is fine, but what if we thought we could agree and now we cannot? What can I do then?
Either party can prevent an ID divorce by;
1) Not agreeing;
2) Not signing anything;
3) Filing on Fault;
4) Filing a Notice of Withdrawal of Consent.
An ID divorce is the most often granted type of divorce in Mississippi and even most fault based divorces are converted into an ID divorce. The benefit to an ID divorce is that it does not require adversarial positions to be taken in Court and it gives you, the parties, the ability to agree and have the say in the outcome of your situation. Anything that could be had in a fault based divorce can likewise be achieved in an ID divorce, with the sole exception of having the divorce granted on fault.
* In a NO FAULT state either party can secure the divorce regardless if the other party agrees . In the event they cannot agree the Court can divide the property.
** The 60 day waiting period is the minimum time that the parties to an ID divorce must wait. It is designed as a cooling off period.
*** There is also the possibility of a hybrid situation where you and your spouse can agree on the divorce and agree to let the Judge decide the issues that you cannot agree upon. This technique, however, has its risks and should not be gone into lightly and certainly not without consultation of an attorney.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and has handled 100s of irreconcilable differences divorces.
You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.