What Is Considered Desertion in a Mississippi Divorce?

Divorce is a challenging time in anyone’s life. Several significant decisions need to be made in a short amount of time. These decisions can affect the rest of your life, your spouse’s life, and your children’s lives. That’s why obtaining legal counsel as early as possible is so important. We can help you make the right decisions about the type of divorce right for you.

Types of Divorce

There are generally two types of divorce. One is called dissolution, or a no-fault divorce. In this case, the couple agrees that their marriage ended due to irreconcilable differences, and neither party are “at fault.” By contrast, the other type is a fault-based or contested divorce. In this type of divorce, one spouse essentially sues the other to be let out of the marriage contract due to one or more “fault grounds.” Usually, the divorce court will consider the fault grounds when separating the marriage assets. Often the offending party will receive a less than equal share of the property, retirement accounts, or child custody.

The 12 Fault Grounds

In Mississippi, 12 faults are recognized as grounds to end a marriage. They are:

  1. Adultery: Engaging in sexual activity with a person other than the spouse. Adultery can be dismissed if the two spouses resume a sexual relationship with one another. This can be proof that adultery has been forgiven or condoned.
  2. Natural Impotence
  3. Incarceration
  4. Habitual Drug Use
  5. Habitual Drunkenness
  6. Habitual Cruel and Inhumane Treatment
  7. Insanity at the Time of Marriage: If one person has a severe mental illness unknown to their spouse at the time of the marriage, the spouse may sue for divorce within a reasonable amount of time.
  8. Bigamy
  9. Pregnancy at the Time of Marriage: If the wife was pregnant by another man at the time of the wedding and the groom did not know.
  10. Kinship Within a Prohibitive Degree: The happy couple was unaware they were closely blood-related.
  11. Incurable Insanity: If one spouse is committed to an institution for at least three years.
  12. Desertion


Desertion refers to one spouse’s abandonment of the marriage without the other’s consent for a period of at least one year. The desertion must be continuous without any temporary reconciliation. Furthermore, the offending spouse must have left with the express purpose of leaving their marriage. If the spouse plans to return to their family, it is not considered desertion.


If you have questions about the marriage fault grounds in the state of Mississippi, call The Law Offices of Rusty Willard at (601) 824-9797.