Irreconcilable differences divorces (sometimes called, “No Fault Divorces”), are authorized by a Mississippi State Statute Number 93-5-2. This statute was passed by the Mississippi Legislature in 1976 to afford people who wanted a divorce an opportunity to obtain a divorce without any allegation of fault by either party.
The Irreconcilable Differences Divorce Statute allows for a divorce by agreement of the parties. Agreement of the parties is essential, as no irreconcilable differences divorce can be forced upon either party. The statue requires the parties to agree as to the obtaining of a divorce and to custody and support of the children, settlement of any property rights between the parties, payment of debts, distribution of personal possessions, payment of alimony, and all other things and matters and issues between the parties. Without such an agreement, the Final Decree of Divorce cannot be obtained.
The procedure is to file a Joint Complaint for Divorce in the Chancery Court where either party resides, or, to serve a Complaint for Divorce where the Defendant resides. If a Joint Complaint is filed, then the parties are obviously in agreement and may proceed. On the other hand if the Complaint is served upon the opposing party, no divorce can be obtained without that party ultimately entering into an agreement for divorce. In either case, after sixty (60) days has run from the date of the filing of the Joint Complaint, or, the service of the Complaint on the other party, the Final Decree of Divorce may be presented to the court. At the time of presentation of the Final Decree of Divorce, the parties must have executed the agreement set forth above. In addition, some courts require the parties to execute a financial statement for submission to the court.
During the sixty (60) day waiting period, a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences may not be obtained. The Legislature designed this waiting period to insure that people really want to obtain divorces. Any party may stop the divorce process not only within the sixty (60) day period but during the period after the running of the sixty (60) days before the filing of the Final Decree of Divorce. It must be noted that the divorce is not automatically final sixty (60) days after the filing of the Divorce. As a matter of fact, it normally takes one (1) to two (2) weeks after the running of the sixty (60) days for the attorney to arrange an appointment with the Chancellor to sign the Final Decree. This depends on the Court schedules and the Court dockets, as well as the schedules of the attorneys. Every divorce client should be aware that there will be some delay following the running of the sixty (60) days. A divorce exactly at the end of sixty (60) days should not be expected.
In addition to proceeding by Joint Complaint, attorneys frequently build into every fault complaint an alternative allegation of a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. This allows the parties to reach an agreement after the fault complaint is filed and then decide to proceed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. If that is the case, then the process is the same.
Many rights are involved with regard to divorces on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. These rights affect the future for all parties, especially children. No one should enter into a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences without having consulted an attorney.