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After filing for divorce, the first thing you do is go into your attorney’s office and sign the divorce petition. Next, the attorney will contact the court to get a Rule 81 temporary court date when they get the divorce petition. They will then prepare a Rule 81 summons and a Rule 4 summons, which will need to be served upon the defendant along with the petition. They then must take them to the clerk’s office to get them issued by the court. Once the court issues them, they put the documents together and give them to a process server; the process server could be a deputy sheriff, a private investigator, or other everyday individuals. This individual would then serve the summons.

Usually, it costs about $65 for a process server, and they’ll make two attempts to serve someone. If they have to make more attempts, you have to sometimes pay them again for the two more. Typically, we try with the process server, and if that doesn’t work, we will go to the Deputy Sheriff’s department. After service, then you’ll go to court on your temporary hearing, and then it will be six months or longer before your final hearing is set.

Before Divorce Is Finalized While The Process Is Going On, What Generally Are The Custody Or Visitation Arrangements For Couples Who Have Children?

Custody arrangements while the divorce is pending can be complex and depend on both spouses’ financial home situation. It may also depend on the judge. For example, some judges adhere to the thoughts that the children should be equally shared between two parents and that it should be joint physical custody. So in those instances, the child might be one week with one parent, one week with the other parent. And in that instance, it may not be ideal for spouses nor children, but there are situations where people live in the same school district in which judges will try to do that until a custody decision has been made.

If not, the judge at a temporary hearing will go over the Albright Factors and place the child with one of the parents to be the primary physical custodian. The other parent will temporarily get visitation every other weekend and half the holidays that they split with the primary physical custodian. But, again, those are at the temporary order; it’s not final. I’ve seen in many cases where a mother was given temporary physical custody, and then at the final hearing, the father was granted permanent custody. So, it’s not always an indicator of who’s going to get custody in the end. It’s all going to be dependent on what’s called the Albright Factors.

What Are The Albright Factors?

The Albright factors come from a Mississippi Supreme Court case, Albright versus Albright, decided in 1983. The Supreme Court said there were 12 factors to look at when a chancellor decides what spouse or party will have custody of a child. These 12 factors are:

  1. The age of the child.
  2. The health and sex of the child.
  3. The determination of the parent who has the continuity of care before the separation.
  4. Who has the best parenting skills, willingness, and capacity to provide primary child care.
  5. Employment and responsibilities of that employment.
  6. The physical and mental health and age of the parents.
  7. The emotional ties between the parent and child.
  8. The moral fitness of the parent.
  9. The home, school, and community record of the child.
  10. The child’s preference at an age sufficient to express a preference by law, which is 12 years old in Mississippi.
  11. The stability of the home environment and each parent’s employment
  12. Other factors relevant to the parent-child relationship such as co-parenting and cooperating with the other parent.

For more information on Family Law In Mississippi, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (228) 300-4433 today.

McAlister Law Firm, LLC

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(228) 300-4433