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Property Division

Mississippi uses an equitable distribution system for dividing marital property in a divorce. “Equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.” It more accurately means “fair.” The court looks at a variety of factors in distributing marital property between the two spouses.

Marital property is any property, money, or assets obtained or acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or bank account. Separate property is property, money, or assets owned or acquired before the marriage or by way of inheritance or gift during the marriage. Separate property is not included in the marital estate but is the individual spouse’s own separate property. However, separate property can become marital property  and be included in the equitable distribution of the marital estate if it is combined or commingled with marital property in such a manner that it cannot be distinguished from the marital property. Separate property can also become marital property if it is used by the family for family purposes.

After determining what property is marital and what property is separate, all the marital property is given a value. With money, this is easy, but with property, the fair market value must be determined, which sometimes must be done by experts. Once the marital estate is valued, the court considers all legally-relevant factors and equitably divides the estate. 

 
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