Adoption is a legal process where parental rights are transferred from the birth parents, or natural parents, to the adoptive parents. Adoption allows the adoptive parents to have all legal rights with regard to the child, as if the child were biologically born to the adoptive parents.
Alimony, also commonly referred to as spousal support, is a husband's or wife's court ordered monetary payment to a spouse after separation or divorce. The law does not discriminate between whether a husband or wife can receive spousal support. The court will look at many factors, including length of marriage, age, physical and mental health of each party, and financial resources of each spouse, to determine the type and amount of alimony to be awarded in divorce.
In Mississippi there are very specific grounds for the annulment of the marriage, and annulment proceedings are rare. If a marriage is annulled by law the marriage is treated as if it never existed.
The Mississippi Youth Court has jurisdiction over cases involving allegations of abuse or neglect of a minor child. The Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS) will also have involvement in the case as an investigative role. Youth Court proceedings are not open to the public; however, Youth Court does conduct hearings concerning minor children similarly to other courts of law.
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Child custody will generally involve a determination of both the legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to decisions about the minor child's health care, education, religion, and other issues. Whereas, physical custody refers to where the child lives, and can involve the parents sharing joint physical custody or one parent being the primary custodial parent that the other having visitation.
Mississippi has adopted a "flat percentage method" of calculating the amount of child support that should be paid for the care of the minor child. Child support in Mississippi is paid until the minor child reaches the age of twenty-one or becomes emancipated. The noncustodial parent has an obligation to assist in the support of his/her minor child.
A cohabitation agreement is a legal, contractual agreement between two parties that live in a household together as an unmarried couple in order to establish rights regarding income, property, and other decisions.
A divorce in Mississippi based upon one of the fault grounds available by law. The most common grounds seen in our practice include adultery; being sentenced to any penitentiary, and not pardoned before being sent there; willful continued and obstinate desertion for the space of one year; habitual drunkenness; habitual and excessive use of opium, morphine and other like drugs; and habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, though there are other grounds available. The party seeking a divorce on a fault ground has the burden of proving to the court the entitlement to divorce based upon a fault ground.
The court can grant a divorce on irreconcilable differences with the agreement of the spouses to divorce on that basis. The parties can also agree as to other issues of the marriage within the bounds of the law, including child custody, child support, division of debts, and property division.
Providing practical solutions for fathers seeking custody or visitation. Our firm will work with you in order to explain your rights as a parent and to prepare you for what to expect in a family court hearing.
Grandparents are secondary to the parents with regard to whom has parental rights. There are certain situations where a grandparent may be granted custody of a grandchild. The grandparent would be required to bring a third-party custody proceeding.
A grandparent may be granted visitation rights with his/her grandchildren if the grandparent's child (mother or father of the children) has not be granted custody of the grandchild, parental rights are terminated, or is deceased. Grandparent visitation may also be granted if the grandparent can demonstrate a viable relationship with the grandchild and that visitation would be in the minor child's best interest.
In certain family law and juvenile court proceedings a Guardian ad Litem is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interest of a minor child, to serve as an attorney for the child, or to investigate and make recommendations to the court in regards to the case. A Guardian ad Litem is required to obtain certification each year.
Spouses have the ability to attempt to settle matters of divorce, child custody, child support, and division of debts and assets within the bounds of the law. Whether a fault-based or irreconcilable differences divorce spouses can choose to settle issues between them so long as the agreement is within the guidelines of the law.
A parent may need to assert his/her parental rights if a determination of custody or visitation has not been established between the parents, if the Mississippi Department of Human Services is involved regarding custody of a minor child, or in termination of parental rights cases. A parent cannot simply choose to voluntarily terminate his/her parental rights in order to be relieved of obligations concerning the minor child, such as child support.
Paternity is a determination of legal parentage. A child of unmarried parents may not have a legal father unless the father is on the birth certificate or he establishes paternity. Without legal parentage a father is not obligated to pay support for the child and he cannot he cannot establish custody or visitation rights.
A written agreement signed by husband and wife after the couple's marriage to settle the couple's assets and affairs in the event of separation or divorce.
A written contract entered into by two parties prior to marriage to settle the couple's assets and affairs in the event of separation or divorce after the marriage.
A civil court order for victims of abuse from someone to whom they are married were formerly married, whom they have a dating or intimate relationship or formerly had such relationship, or someone with whom they have a close family relationship. Protective orders through Ex Parte Emergency Abuse Protection Order, Temporary Domestic Abuse Protection Order, or Final Domestic Abuse Protection Order are available for victims of abuse, rape, physical threat, or stalking.
The court looks to the best interest of the minor child in regards to termination of parental rights cases. A parent cannot simply elect to have his/her rights terminated, and in most cases termination of parental rights will only be granted to allow a subsequent adoption.
The law presumes that it is in the best interest for the minor child to remain in the custody of the natural parent. The court will require a showing that the natural parent has abandoned the child, the parent is entirely unfit due to abandonment of the child or relinquishment of parental rights, or because the conduct of the parent is detrimental to the child.
Visitation is determined by the court based upon the best interest of the minor child. When one parent has primary physical custody, or the child lives primarily with that parent, the noncustodial parent has a right to unrestricted liberal visitation with the minor child so long as there are not unusual circumstances. Visitation may be restricted if it could cause harm to the child.