Mississippi Senate Bill Changes Grounds for Divorce

JACKSON, Miss. – There could soon be new grounds for divorce provided to victims of domestic abuse.

Senate Bill 2703 is on it’s way to the House.

To get a divorce in Mississippi couples have to have a reason, and they also have to provide proof.

This is also the case for people in abusive marriages, by law you have to prove domestic violence has happened more than once.

“We don’t want our laws binding someone to something that can be detrimental and deadly to them,” Executive Director of Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Wendy Mahoney said.

Mahoney works with the states 13 domestic abuse centers, and victims that are the reason behind Senate Bill 2703.

“As we know, domestic violence is rooted in power and control, so if that individual is feeling as though their power and control is being threatened then what tends to happen is they’re not going to agree with a divorce,” Mahoney said.

That’s where Senate Bill 2703 comes in changing the language that says habitual cruel and inhuman treatment is one of Mississippi’s 12 different grounds for divorce.

“Suppose they hit you only once, but the intimidation, the humiliation, the degradation is much severe,” Mahoney said.

While a similar bill didn’t make it out of last year’s legislative session, this year is a different story.

Already the bill has been unanimously voted to move on for approval by the House.

“Other states then to have more universal laws when it comes to or no fault, actually a lot of them do have no fault divorces.”

As an advocate for domestic abuse, Mahoney says this bill is empowering providing freedom to those previously unable to leave their marriages.

“We are advocating for the victims and survivors of domestic violence, we look at all the issues and how the issues intersect on so many facets of life,” Mahoney said.

Now this bill is on it’s way to the House of Representatives.

Should it pass it is effective July first, they are hoping for another unanimous vote.

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