Frequently Asked Questions
The following has been prepared by Self, Jacob & Kieronski, LLP to help answer the most commonly asked questions we receive.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information about Self, Jacob & Kieronski or the questions below. We are available to discuss any other matters of importance to you as well.
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- What are the grounds for divorce?
- What do I have to prove for custody of children?
- How are marital assets divided?
- What is a no fault divorce?
- If I have committed adultery will I lose my kids?
- How do I modify a judgment of divorce?
- Can I keep my license if I'm convicted of a DUI?
- Should I speak to law enforcement?
- What is a grand jury?
What are the grounds for divorce?
Grounds—or the reason that you are filing for a divorce—are part of your divorce petition. A no fault divorce in which there are irreconcilable differences means that no one is to blame for the breakup of the marriage. There are also fault-based grounds including adultery, abuse, desertion, alcoholism or drug addition, incarceration, and insanity.
What do I have to prove for custody of children?
Courts use a standard that gives the best interests of the child the highest priority when deciding custody issues. Factors may include—
- The parent's mental and physical health
- The parent's lifestyle and other social factors
- The emotional bond between parent and child
- The parent's ability to provide the child with food, shelter, clothing, and medical care
- The child's established living pattern (school, home, community, religious institution)
- The child's preference, if the child is above a certain age (usually about 12).
Assuming that none of these factors clearly favors one parent over the other, most courts tend to focus on which parent is likely to provide the children a stable environment, and which parent will better foster the child's relationship with the other parent.
How are marital assets divided?
There are two legal theories that govern how marital property is divided: community property or equitable distribution. Equitable distribution is more common than community property laws and instead of requiring a 50/50 split of marital property; it takes into account the financial situation of each spouse. While equitable distribution is more flexible, it is also harder to forecast the outcome, since there are so many factors taken into consideration during settlement negotiations.
What is a no fault divorce?
A no-fault divorce is one in which neither spouse blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage. Both spouses agree that "irreconcilable differences" have arisen, and that neither time nor counseling will save the marriage; it simply will not work. A "no-fault" divorce is a more humane way to end a marriage in those states that permit it.
If I have committed adultery will I lose my kids?
Custody is determined by the best interests of the child. Affairs usually aren't considered, but they can sometimes have somewhat of an impact.
How do I modify a judgment of divorce?
After a divorce becomes final—whether through settlement agreement or after a court decision—either spouse may still have an opportunity to challenge certain decisions made by the court, or change certain rights and obligations set out in the final divorce judgment.
Either or both spouses can appeal a trial court judge's decision to a higher court, but it is unusual to overturn a judge's decision in a divorce case.
You can also ask the trial court itself to change certain aspects of the divorce judgment after it has been entered—including child custody arrangements, visitation schedules, child support, and support. This is called a "motion to modify" the divorce judgment.
Can I keep my license if I'm convicted of a DUI?
No. Mississippi can suspend your privilege to drive in this state. Mississippi cannot suspend an out-of-state license; only your home state can suspend your license.
Should I speak to law enforcement?
You are not required to answer potentially incriminating questions. A polite "I would like to speak with an attorney before I answer any questions" is a good reply. On the other hand, saying that you had one or two beers is not incriminating: it is not sufficient to cause intoxication—and it may explain the odor of alcohol on the breath.
What is a grand jury?
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether there is enough evidence for a trial. A grand jury is traditionally larger than and distinguishable from a petit jury, which is used during a trial.
Still have questions?
Call the attorneys at Self, Jacob & Kieronski, LLP for answers. Our Meridian, Mississippi office can be reached at 601-693-6994 or by visiting the contact us page.
This information is intended to inform, not to advise. No one should attempt to interpret or apply any law without the aid of an attorney because the facts of each individual case are different and may change the application of the law.