Divorce on “cruelty” is tough to get in Mississippi


A divorce on the ground of habitual cruel and inhumane treatment requires the following to be shown by a preponderance of the evidence: [C]onduct that either (1) endangers life, limb, or health, or creates a reasonable apprehension of such danger, rendering the relationship unsafe for the party seeking relief, or (2) is so unnatural and infamous as to make the marriage revolting to the nonoffending spouse and render it impossible for that spouse to discharge the duties of marriage, thus destroying the basis for its continuance. Osborne v. Osborne, 202 So. 3d 639, 641 (Miss. Ct. App. 2016) (citing Richard v. Richard, 711 So. 2d 884, 889 (Miss. 1998)).

“The conduct must consist of something more than unkindness or rudeness or mere incompatibility or want of affection.” Osborne, 202 So. 3d at 641 (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Horn v. Horn, 909 So. 2d 1151, 1155 (Miss. Ct. App. 2005)). “The offending spouse’s conduct . . . ‘must be shown to have been systematic and continuous.’” Baggett v. Baggett, 246 So. 3d 887, 892 (Miss. Ct. App. 2017) (quoting Horn, 909 So. 2d at 1155). “Further, the offended spouse must show a causal connection between the offending spouse’s conduct and the impact on the offended spouse.” Id. (citing Smith v. Smith, 90 So. 3d 1259, 1263 (Miss. Ct. App. 2011)).

In the recent case of WANGLER v. WANGLER, NO. 2018-CA-01632-SCT, the following facts were not sufficient to obtain a divorce:

Criticism that would last for hours, causing sleep deprivation, loss of energy and inability to think straight

Critical and isolated her from her family. Would take away cell phone and car keys and turned off her internet

False accusations of adultery

Dropped her off at work and did not pick her up

Locked her out of her apartment and left her stranded outside

Stranded her at McDonald’s while pregnant

Pinched her and slapped her arm and leg

Picked her up and forced her into the bedroom

The Court said, “Karrah’s evidence of habitual cruel and inhumane treatment, specifically, spousal domestic abuse, is nothing more than unkindness, rudeness, incompatibility, and/or want of affection.”

“A marriage may become unpleasant and argumentative, but not rise to the level of being so unnatural and infamous as to warrant the grant of divorce on the ground of habitual cruel and inhumane treatment.” Osborne, 202 So. 3d at 642 (citing Killen v. Killen, 54 So. 3d 869, 873 (Miss. Ct. App. 2010)).

WANGLER v. WANGLER, NO. 2018-CA-01632-SCT https://courts.ms.gov/Images/Opinions/CO142556.pdf