JACKSON, Miss. – The law regarding domestic violence as grounds for divorce has been clarified through an amendment today.
Representative Andy Gipson offered the amendment which aims to define the divorce statute, “habitual cruel and inhuman treatment”.
“According to the Mississippi center for violence prevention, they’re very excited about this — this is the first time in Mississippi history that we have some clear definition to what abuse is,” State Representative, Andy Gipson said.
118-votes all in favor of support of domestic abuse victims is what it came down to for Senate Bill 2680.
“We are guaranteeing that domestic abuse will be looked at by judges all across the state on an even basis,” Gipson said.
The unanimous decision came down today, and according to state representative Andy Gipson this bill is a solution to a judicial disparity problem.
“In many cases, the abused victim is the only person who may know about the abuse,” Gipson explained.
Since lawmakers are now trying to make domestic abuse grounds for divorce Gipson says survivors have come forward.
“She told her story about an addictive husband, an abusive husband, a husband who had abandoned her and I said lady you have at least four grounds for divorce that you described–why can’t you get a divorce on those grounds,” Gipson said. “She said well my lawyer told me our judge won’t do that.”
The domestic abuse protections also cover children, the bill clarifies alternative relatives that may care for abused and neglected children.
“Then without having to get a foster parent they can place this child with a grandparent with a loved one another relative–which should have already been the law,” Gipson said. “I don’t know why it hasn’t been.”
While the law has passed in favor of victims, Gipson has a message to those that are still in abusive situations.
“Don’t stay there, get out it’s not going to get better this person is not going to change their behavior until they have a change of heart,” Gipson said.
Gipson also says the Mississippi Center for Violence Prevention and other organizations were instrumental in working with legislators to get this passed.