When a married couple divorces, one of the most important questions they may face is which spouse gets to keep the marital home. Along with the sentimental attachment to your home, a house is a significant investment and asset. Finding a new place to live can also be an exhausting process, especially when it comes after a divorce.
The Mississippi divorce lawyers at the law offices of Derek L. Hall, PC can help you fight to keep your home in a divorce. Our extensive experience with Mississippi divorce laws gives us an advantage in protecting your rights and assets. Contact us today and learn more about our services during a free consultation.
How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce Case in Mississippi?
Mississippi is known as an equitable distribution state when it comes to dividing assets in a divorce. With equitable distribution, a divorcing couple must divide their shared assets fairly—but not always evenly. The spouses must only divide shared assets. Each spouse will keep property that belongs to them and wasn’t combined with their shared assets.
There are several factors the courts will take into account when dividing marital assets, such as the following:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
- Each spouse’s earnings and employment prospects
- The market and emotional value of the asset
- Which spouse will be responsible for providing for any children from the marriage
- The potential tax consequences of how the assets will be divided
- Whether one spouse will be paying alimony to the other
What Is Considered Marital Property in Mississippi?
Mississippi’s laws broadly define marital property as any property assets accumulated by either spouse through the duration of the marriage. If both spouses used or paid for some asset or property, it is considered marital property. However, any assets or property a spouse owned before the marriage remain their sole property if they were kept separate from the other spouse. A spouse may also keep any gifts or inheritances they received during the marriage that weren’t combined.
A shared home is generally marital property if both spouses used the home and have their name on the title. But dividing a house is difficult, so usually, only one spouse gets the house. The spouse who keeps the house may have to give up some other assets or “buy out” the other spouse’s share of the home.
How Much Property Can a Spouse Get During a Divorce?
A married couple’s shared assets must be divided “equitably” in a Mississippi divorce. However, the assets are not usually divided in a 50/50 split. Instead, the courts will fairly divide the assets while accounting for each spouse’s needs, their standard of living before the divorce, and other factors.
The limit on how much property one spouse can receive from a divorce depends on what assets are shared and what are separate. For example, if one spouse has a large inheritance they have kept separate from the couple’s shared finances, then that spouse would likely be able to keep that inheritance. But a house is nearly always a shared asset, so the couple or the courts must work out some way to divide it.
What If I Inherited the House Before Getting Married?
In some states, a court considers any assets owned by either spouse as “community property” and must equally divide, even a house inherited before marriage. However, Mississippi is not a community property state. If you inherited or purchased a home before your marriage and your name is the only one on the title, it would be considered separate property you can keep.
However, the courts may find that you have combined the house with your other marital assets if your spouse contributed to the house’s upkeep or made a significant investment in the house. In this case, your spouse would likely have a claim to the house you inherited or purchased before the marriage.
What Is the Difference Between Getting Custody and Ownership of a Property?
The difference between having custody of the property and owning it is subtle but crucial in Mississippi divorce cases. If you have custody of a property, you have control over and possess it, but do not own it yourself. Your spouse would still be entitled to their share of the proceeds if you sell the home because they still partially own it.
If a court awards you ownership of a property, you can do with it what you please. However, courts in Mississippi generally award spouses custody of a home and not ownership of it.
Should I Hire a Divorce Attorney to Help Fight for My Home in Mississippi?
Hiring a lawyer to represent you in a divorce means you have someone with legal training looking out for your interests throughout the process. Mississippi’s divorce laws can be difficult for you to navigate on your own, especially if your spouse has already hired legal counsel.
A compassionate divorce lawyer can help you by:
- Filing paperwork correctly and on time
- Handling communication with your spouse and their legal representation
- Calculating all of your marriage assets
- Advocating for your child custody, child support, and alimony
- Negotiating on your behalf to pursue your desired results
Contact the Divorce Lawyers at Derek L. Hall, PC for a Free Consultation
If you are getting divorced in Mississippi, don’t give up your home without a fight. Contact Derek L. Hall, PC, today for a free consultation with a Mississippi divorce attorney about protecting your assets.