Mississippi Alimony Laws and Guidelines: All About Spousal Support in “MS”

The alimony laws governing spousal support in Mississippi is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the MS alimony law.

Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Magnolia State, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.

Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.

This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.

All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.

Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in MS

types of alimony

Types of alimony in Mississippi

In Mississippi, judges can award alimony in the form of periodic alimony, monthly lump sum payment, rehabilitative alimony, or reimbursement alimony. Instead of alimony, judges can impose a partition of marital property or equitable interest in marital property. The court can use any or all of the alimony options. (Miss. Code Ann. § 93-5-23 (2018).)

Periodic Alimony in Mississippi

Periodic alimony (sometimes known as “permanent alimony”) is a type of support payment in which the paying spouse pays to the receiver at regular intervals for a set amount of time. The goal of periodic support is to make sure that both spouses are in the same financial situation.

Periodic alimony is suitable in divorces where one partner will be unable to become financially self-sufficient due to disability, age, or extended absence from the labor market. When the receiver remarries or cohabitates, or if one spouse dies, periodic alimony comes to an end. (Holley v. Holley, 969 So.2d 842 (2007).)

Lump-sum Alimony in MS

In Mississippi, lump sum alimony is a one-time payment made by one spouse to another. This is a binding agreement between the two spouses that cannot be altered.

Though lump sum payments are usually payable all at once, the Judge may enable payments to be made in installments. If you are ordered to pay $ 60,000 to your spouse, for instance, you may be eligible to pay $ 20,000 at the time of divorce and another $ 40,000 in four (4) months.

All of this is subject to court approval. Because all court orders are final, it is still your responsibility to follow the court order even if your situation changes after it is issued.

Rehabilitative Support in Mississippi

Rehabilitative support, which is comparable to permanent support but serves a different purpose, is the most prevalent type of alimony. The objective of rehabilitative support is for the assisted spouse to get financial assistance while learning necessary job skills or getting the required education in order to find work and eventually become financially self-supporting.

Normally, until the court-ordered end date, the paying spouse will provide monthly payments for a set period of time. (Hubbard v. Hubbard, 656 So.2d 124 (130) (1995).)

Reimbursement Support in MS

The court may give reimbursement support in marriages when one spouse financially assisted the other’s job or educational growth. For instance, if one spouse contributed to the cost of the other’s law school study, the court may order the degree recipient to reimburse some of the costs. A proper sum will be determined by the court, and neither spouse will be able to modify it later.

While the divorce is proceeding, the court may award a fifth type of alimony known as “temporary” or “pendente lite” maintenance. While the marriage is separated, the court may order a higher-earning spouse to provide periodic payments to guarantee that the dependent spouse does not go hungry during the divorce. Temporary support will expire when the divorce is finalized by the judge.

Who Pays Alimony in Mississippi?

In Mississippi alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.

Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Magnolia State is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.

So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Mississippi if the above conditions are met.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in MS?

How Long To Pay Alimony

The judge will decide how long the alimony payment should last in Mississippi

The duration to pay alimony in Mississippi can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.

As provided by the alimony laws of MS, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.

How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Mississippi

When it comes to collecting spousal support in Mississippi, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.

Factors That Influence Alimony in Mississippi

The average amount payable as spousal support in Mississippi after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”

To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in MS, the courts in MS takes into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:

  • earning capacity of each spouse.
  • the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
  • the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
  • how long the marriage lasted
  • the needs of each spouse
  • the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
  • each party’s tax consequences
  • the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
  • each spouse’s health and age
  • each party’s balance of hardships
  • whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
  • will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
  • any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • any other factors which the court wishes to consider

This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Magnolia State. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.

How Alimony is Calculated in MS

How Alimony is Calculated

How Alimony is Calculated in Mississippi

The amount to be paid as spousal support in Mississippi is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator

But to be explicit about how to calculate spousal support in MS, you may need to consult your spousal support attorney.

>>> Mississippi Spousal Support Calculator

Importance of Using a Skilled Mississippi Spousal Support Attorney

If you’re getting a divorce in Mississippi and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support, your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. MS courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.

If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Mississippi, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.

For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of MS divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and
representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.

Click Here to Get our Free Iowa Alimony recommendation.

FAQ About Mississippi Alimony Laws

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in MS:

Can a Husband get Alimony in MS?

Yes. In Mississippi, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.

Who Qualifies for Alimony in Mississippi?

Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in MS, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details

How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in MS?

To understand how long alimony lasts in Mississippi, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.

However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.

Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Mississippi?

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Mississippi and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.

Is Alimony Mandatory in Magnolia State?

Alimony is mandatory in Mississippi as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.

Can Alimony be increased in Mississippi?

Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:

  • an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
  • if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
  •  loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
  • an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
  • when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected

Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in MS?

Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Mississippi. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.

If it’s a Mississippi court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in MS}.

How to Modify Spousal Support in MS?

How to Avoid spousal support

How to Avoid spousal support in Mississippi

When necessary, Mississippi law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in MS usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and
effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.

When filing for a spousal support modification in Mississippi, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in MS.

The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Mississippi:

  • Retirement
  • Remarriage
  • Relocation
  • Changes in income or employment
  • Birth of a new child
  • Health changes, including disability
  • A new dependent

How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in MS?

In Magnolia State, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:

  • that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
  • the spouse proves that he has no source of income
  • the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
  • if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living

Alimony Laws in all 50 States

A Alabama  |  AlaskaArizonaArkansas
C CaliforniaColoradoConnecticut
D-H DelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaii
I IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa
K-L KansasKentuckyLouisiana
M MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontana
NebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota
P-S  PennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth Dakota
T-U  TennesseeTexasUtah
V-W  VermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.