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Mississippi Child Custody Laws

We’re known as the Hospitality State, and many a happy relationship has blossomed in Mississippi. Sadly, not all of our romances end happily. And if your relationship involved children, you might be wondering who will get custody of your children and what state laws might affect that determination. Here is a brief overview of child custody laws in Mississippi.

Child Custody Laws

States like Mississippi have their own child custody laws, and many have also adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The Uniform Enforcement Act is a federal law that mandates that each state honor and enforce child custody rulings made by courts in other states. Under Mississippi’s own laws, joint custody is permitted for separated or divorced parents, and grandparents’ visitation rights are legally recognized. And while courts do not officially consider the wishes of the child in custody matters, court custody determinations are always guided by the child’s best interests.

Child Custody Statutes in Mississippi

Mississippi’s child custody statutes are listed in the table below.

Code Section

Mississippi Code 93-5-23, et seq.

Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted

1982

Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, §93-5-24

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, §93-16-1, et seq.

Child's Own Wishes Considered?

No

Mississippi Custody Hearings

In some cases, parents are able to come to their own custody arrangement, and courts will normally honor those agreements. If they cannot agree, a court may have to decide any contested custody issues in a hearing. As noted above, the primary concern for any court in creating a custody arrangement is the child’s best interests. Family courts in Mississippi are generally able to consider any factor that could be relevant to the child’s best interests, safety, and wellbeing.

Most “best interests” factors tend to focus on the child, like the interest in maintaining consistency and continuity in his or her family life, community, and education. Additional factors may focus on the parents, such as which parent is more able to take care of the child’s daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs, while maintaining a loving, stable, and nurturing relationship with the child.

Mississippi Child Custody Laws: Related Resources

Sorting out the emotional and legal issues of child custody can be difficult. You can consult with a Mississippi family law attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding a child custody matter. You can also find more resources and information on this topic by visiting FindLaw's section on Child Custody.

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