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Divorce Blackmail and the Homestead; Court Closes Loophole

Mississippi is a fault-based state. If a person does not have grounds for divorce, they cannot get one unless the other party consents. This leads to untenable situations where unhappy people are trapped in marriage. Their property is tied up too.

One way to create some leverage used to be to seek a partition of the homestead. This at least allowed a spouse to force the divorce issue by seeking a sale of the marital home. The Legislature closed the gap on this technique by enacting a law prohibiting the division or “partition” of a marital home. Miss Code Ann. 11-21-1.

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court affirmed that the new law prevented someone who could not divorce from having the marital home sold. The Court denied arguments that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on the right to sell property. Noone v. Noone, No. 2012–CA–01849–SCT (12/21/13)