Legislature considering adding domestic violence as a ground for - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Legislature considering adding domestic violence as a ground for divorce

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It is Valentine's Day but the reality is that some relationships are broken.

Now, the legislature is digging deeper into the divorce laws. Whether it's once, twice or several times, domestic violence in a relationship is toxic.

"If you think about it, you're already going through major hardship," said Wendy Mahoney, executive director of the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "To be able to say I want to end this particular relationship, you've already taken a powerful step in that particular direction."

Mahoney said those victims are winding up stuck in long legal battles.

"I'm not saying that they can't get a divorce," added Mahoney. "Issue is that the current laws make it more difficult and make it harder for survivors to obtain a divorce."

There are 12 grounds for divorce in Mississippi's law now. The seventh is what most domestic violence victims try to use. It's "habitual cruel or inhuman treatment".

There's often a problem proving the abuse.

The proposed bill removes the word "habitual" and adds in "including spousal domestic abuse". Mahoney said that helps cover for more than just a physical relationship.

"It's just as damaging individuals experience emotional and psychological abuse and other types of abuse, sexual abuse in those types of things as well," explained Mahoney.

Senator Sally Doty took up the torch for this bill last year. She's hoping the tweaks will help it survive this go-around.

"This would have the most effect to put it within an existing ground and kind of modify the language of that existing ground just a little bit," said Doty. "A little bit but with great effect."

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