MississippiPost Divorce Property Division
Mississippi Property Division Guide :: Table of Contents
Mississippi Property Division General Information
(Community Property or Equitable)
What is property division in a Mississippi divorce?
Also known as equitable distribution, property division is the process of dividing property rights and obligations between spouses during the process of a divorce. Property division may be agreed upon between the soupses through a property settlement, or it may be decided in court during the judicial process of divorce. The process of property division is affected by state laws such as community property laws, definitions of marital contributions, etc.
Mississippi is an equitable distribution state, and assets acquired both during and prior to the marriage can be subject to division following divorce. Some factors considered by Mississippi courts in a property division case include non-monetary contributions, contributions to a partner's education and economic misconduct. This page summarizes the most important aspects of property division laws in Mississippi.
Mississippi Property Division Court Considerations Table
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Mississippi Property Division Summary
Mississippi divides marital assets via equitable distribution, which means that the court attempts to divide marital assets in a fair and equitable manner between the spouses, taking multiple factors into account in order to determine the equitable distribution for each spouse.
Under Mississippi law, marital property is that which is acquired or is a direct result of the labor and investments of the parties during the marriage is subject to equitable division. Equitable division does not mean marital property is divided equally, it is divided in manner that results in a fair or equitable result for each spouse.
Courts will consider the following factors outlined in Ferguson v Ferguson:
"1. Substantial contribution to the accumulation of the property. Factors to be considered in determining contribution are as follows:
a. Direct or indirect economic contribution to the acquisition of the property;
b. Contribution to the stability and harmony of the marital and family relationships as measured by quality, quantity of time spent on family duties and duration of the marriage; and
c. Contribution to the education, training or other accomplishment bearing on the earning power of the spouse accumulating the assets.
2. The degree to which each spouse has expended, withdrawn or otherwise disposed of marital assets and any prior distribution of such assets by agreement, decree or otherwise.
3. The market value and the emotional value of the assets subject to distribution.
4. The value of assets not ordinarily, absent equitable factors to the contrary, subject to such distribution, such as property brought to the marriage by the parties and property acquired by inheritance or inter vivos gift by or to an individual spouse;
5. Tax and other economic consequences, and contractual or legal consequences to third parties, of the proposed distribution;
6. The extent to which property division may, with equity to both parties, be utilized to eliminate periodic payments and other potential sources of future friction between the parties;
7. The needs of the parties for financial security with due regard to the combination of assets, income and earning capacity; and,
8. Any other factor which in equity should be considered."
Alternatively, non-marital property or property defined as property acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage or property acquired by a spouse intended not to be considered marital property is not subject to equal division.
Mississippi Property Division Frequently Asked Questions
Mississippi Property Division FAQ
- Is Mississippi a community property state?
- Does state of Mississippi only divide marital property after a divorce?
- Is there a set list of statutory factors for determining property division in the state of Mississippi?
- Do courts in the state of Mississippi consider nonmonetary contributions?
- Does Mississippi consider a spouse's economic misconduct in property division?
- Are contributions to education considered in the state of Mississippi?
- Can a pre-nuptual agreement affect property division in Mississippi?
- How can I enforce a property division order in Mississippi?
- Dower and Curtesy in Mississippi?
Is Mississippi a community property state?
Mississippi is NOT a community property state, which means that marital property is not automatically divided 50/50 between the spouses in a divorce case.
Instead, Mississippi judges determine property division under the equitable distribution policy, which means that the court divides property between the spouses in what is believed to be a fair distribution, based on each individual's contributions to the marriage and their earning ability and needs following separation. Factors such as one spouse's economic misconduct may also be considered.
In practice, judges in an equitable-distribution state like Mississippi often divide marital property with approximately 2/3 of marital assets going to the higher-earning spouse, and 1/3 going to the lower-earning spouse.
Does state of Mississippi only divide marital property after a divorce?
Mississippi is one of a minority of states that not only divide marital or community property acquired during the course of a marriage, but may also divide assets earned prior to the marriage regardless of which spouse is the title owner. This may result in a significant surprise for spouses who entered a marriage with high-value assets.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for determining property division in the state of Mississippi?
Mississippi does not have a specific list of factors for the court to consider when determining an equitable division of property between spouses. This means that judges will have flexibility when determining what factors to consider in each individual property division case.
Do courts in the state of Mississippi consider nonmonetary contributions?
In Mississippi, statutory law requires judges deciding a property division case to account for the nonmonetary contributions of both spouses to a marriage when determining how to divide property between them. In practice, this generally means that the judge will consider the value of the labor a stay-at-home spouse contributed to the marriage. Nonmonetary contributions may include activities like the following:
- Household chores, cooking, homemaking
- Taking care of children
- Supporting their spouse professionally
Does Mississippi consider a spouse's economic misconduct in property division?
Mississippi law allows courts to consider economic misconduct of a spouse as a factor in determining equitable property division. Economic misconduct generally means dissipation of assets, which is the legal term for the wasting or loss of marital funds or assets by a spouse through means like excessive spending, gambling, fraud, etc.
If a spouse is found to have dissipated marital funds in a way that injured the other spouse, the court may take punitive or restorative action by awarding a higher percentage of divided property to the injured spouse.
Are a spouse's contributions to their partner's education considered in the state of Mississippi?
Mississippi statute does provide for court consideration of a spouse's contribution to their partner's education during the course of a marriage. If one spouse supported (financially or otherwise) the other and enabled them to obtain education or other training that increased their earning power, these contributions can be considered by a Mississippi judge when determining how to divide marital property.
Can a pre-nuptual agreement affect property division in Mississippi?
A prenuptual agreement, or pre-nup, is a binding legal contract signed by both spouses prior to getting married in Mississippi. A prenup containing a property division agreement can take precedence over Mississippi's property division laws by establishing what is considered as separate vs marital property, as well as agreeing on how finances will be structured during the marriage and divided in the event of a divorce.
The existance of a valid prenuptual agreement can prevent a Mississippi court from having full reign to determine how assets are divided between the spouses, and instead allow them to be divided in a way agreed to by both spouses prior to the event.
How can I enforce a property division order in Mississippi?
A Mississippi property division order is a court order issued by a court order issued by a judge, describing how property is to be divided between spouses following a divorce. A property division order is a binding legal obligation, and failure to comply with the terms in full by either spouse can result in being charged with contempt of court. If your spouse is not complying with a property division order, you can consult a family lawyer to discuss potential legal avenues.
Dower and Curtesy?
Dower and curtesy abolished (§93-3-5)