What to Know About Mississippi’s Child Custody Laws

Parents working through a divorce should have at least a basic understanding of Mississippi’s child custody laws. Of course, each decision impacts their child’s life, and parents need to know all of the various factors involved both in and out of court.

Factors That Affect Child Custody in a Mississippi Divorce

Mississippi laws state that the custody arrangement must be in “the best interest of the child”. The “best interest” can be highly subjective, and ultimately may be up to a judge to determine if both spouses can’t agree on a suitable plan.

Judges consider several factors, including:

  • Age, health, and sex of the child
  • Continuity of care by one parent along with each parent’s abilities
  • The employment of the parent and responsibilities of that employment
  • Physical and mental health and age of the parents along with emotional ties between parents and children
  • Parents’ moral fitness
  • The home, school, and community record of the child
  • The preference of the child (if the child is aged 12 or older)

Physical Versus Legal Custody in a Mississippi Divorce

There are two types of custody in Mississippi — physical custody and legal custody. The former determines who the child will live with, while the latter determines which parent has the legal right to decide on the child’s health, education, and other aspects of the child’s welfare.

Judges can award joint or sole custody to parents depending on, again, “the best interest of the child”. Sometimes, joint custody is deemed not the best option, so alternative arrangements may be made, including:

  • Both parents share joint physical and legal custody
  • One parent has sole physical custody, but both parents have joint legal custody, with the other parenting being allowed visitation rights
  • One parent has both physical custody and legal custody, but the other parent has visitation rights

The Relationship Between Child Support and Custody in Mississippi Divorces

In most cases, the court will order one parent (typically non-custodial) to pay child support to the custodial parent. If the non-custodial parent’s annual income is more than $10,000 but less than $100,000, he will have to pay a certain percentage as mandated by Mississippi guidelines for child support.

Enlist the Guidance of an Experienced Mississippi Child Custody Attorney

The Law Offices of Rusty Williard are compassionate advocates, putting the needs of your children first. If you’re working through a divorce and support negotiation in Mississippi, call (601) 824-9797 to learn more about our experience and schedule a free consultation.