How Does Adultery Affect a Divorce in Mississippi?

Adultery is easily one of the most common reasons for divorce across the country, and it is one of the 12 grounds for divorce in Mississippi. While each divorce comes with its own challenges, splits involving adultery are often the most painful and especially tense. Another thing to remember is that when filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery, all evidence of infidelity, private details, and names of the parties involved will become public record in Mississippi.

Proving Adultery in Mississippi Divorces

Establishing adultery in a Mississippi divorce case isn’t always easy. Mississippi state law defines adultery as “voluntary sexual intercourse on the part of either spouse with a person other than his or her own spouse.” It’s worth noting that certain acts of infidelity that many spouses would consider cheating are not considered adultery under Mississippi law.

Adultery is often hard to prove, and unless your spouse admits to having an affair (or you catch him or her in the act), you may find it difficult to collect proper evidence. To obtain a divorce on the grounds of adultery, you must be able to show the court that your spouse had:

  • an adulterous inclination; and
  • the opportunity to satisfy that inclination.


Evidence in these cases often includes witness testimony, financial records, and/or correspondence confirming the affair. Even with credible circumstantial evidence, a judge may decide the evidence is not clear and convincing enough to grant a divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Condonation of Adultery

If a spouse’s infidelity is revealed, but the married couple continues to live in the same home and be intimate together, this is considered “condonation of adultery”. The court may see this as a sign that you have forgiven your spouse for the affair and may not allow you to use the act of adultery as grounds for divorce. If you know or suspect infidelity, a knowledgeable divorce attorney can offer guidance on potential next steps.

How Adultery Affects Alimony and Child Custody in Mississippi

These issues can affect alimony decisions in Mississippi divorce cases. Alimony is intended to protect either spouse from impoverishment after divorce (not a punishment for bad behavior). However, Mississippi state law allows the judge quite a bit of bandwidth when making decisions about spousal support. Adultery is one of the factors the judge will take into account.

Adultery is also a factor in child custody cases. Although adultery does not automatically disqualify a parent from winning custody of his or her children, the parent’s “moral fitness” is one consideration taken into account. Ultimately, custody arrangements attempt to reflect “the best interest of the child”.


If you are considering divorce in Mississippi, it’s essential to seek legal guidance right away. Especially in suspected or confirmed infidelity cases, having experienced and aggressive representation on your side can make all the difference. Start with a call to The Law Offices of Rusty Williard today at (601) 824-9797 to learn more.