Need Help getting child support?

We Can Help

Going through a divorce?

We Can Help

Are you in Legal trouble?
Need help with a Criminal case?

We Can Help

Same sex is not complex.

We Can Help

ARE YOU A VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

We Can Help

Welcome

Hello! Welcome! Bienvenido! Bienvenue!

Thank you for taking time out of your day to visit our website.  We know there are lots of attorneys out there for you to browse through and review to determine if they fit your legal needs.  We want you to know that we appreciate your time.  

Our catch phrase  is very simple: “Before you are wed until after you are dead - we gotcha covered” It might sound hokey but we want to be with you every step of the way in your life if you need us.  We work hard to be not only great lawyers but also great people.  We know we work for you, the client.  We want to be your lawyer, your family’s lawyer and your friend’s lawyer.  

We offer assistance in many different areas of law.  Whatever your needs are, we want to try to meet and exceed your expectations.  We offer a variety of legal services and refer you to someone we feel will fit your personality and needs when you need a legal product we do not offer such as bankruptcy.  We only want the best for you.  Please take a look around our website and if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment - Talk to Me.  At our firm, the first consultation is always free.

About Us

About our LAW FIRM
& core values

This firm is interested in the client. We do not discriminate against anyone.  We are color, gender and sexual orientation blind.  We believe that all people have rights and should have access to the court system.  The right to be treated fairly and with respect is basic.  We try to deliver great service at a fair price without compromising our personal integrity or yours.  We are not going to take a short cut, lie or cheat.

Firm

History

I am a third generation lawyer.  My grandfather started his first law firm in 1929.  My father joined his firm in 1959.  When my grandfather died in 1987, my father carried on the firm.  In 1999 I joined the firm and practiced with my father until 2008, when I left to open the firm of M. Judith Barnett, P.A.  I have been raised in the practice of law which instilled in me a dedication to hard work, value for the dollar and the importance of the client.  My family, immediate and extended, have been serving the people of Mississippi since 1929.  In the practice of law there is a need to be honest, not just honest, but apparently honest.  We as a profession must always work to be transparent in our representation of our clients. ~ M. Judith Barnett

Geographic

Area of Practice

This firm practices in all 82 counties of the State of Mississippi.  We have experience in the city, county, circuit and chancery courts of each of the counties.  We are comfortable in all venues including federal court.  We enjoy the change in area because it keeps us on our toes and up to date on the law.

How Long

Does It Take?

A court case can take as long as you want or as long as it takes.  This means that the court systems are clogged with a backlog of cases making it difficult to get quick court dates.  We would to get the quickest court date with the attorney of your choice.  However, sometimes the wait can be substantially longer than you anticipated.  We understand this and try to get you into court at the earliest possible time.  We have a vested interest in your case along with you.  We do not want to wait any longer than you.  However, we are not going to take your case to trial until it fully ready.  This requires some pre-trial work and we keep you informed every step of the way.  Rarely does anyone ever come into the office and tell their attorney “take as long as you want, I am in no hurry.”  Usually, everyone wants immediate gratification.  Some cases take longer than others due to their complexity however, they are all important.

How to help yourself

Criminal Cases

The best thing you can do to help yourself is to keep all of your appointments.  You have appointments with probation, parole, drug court, court watch, your attorney, or even a doctor.  Be on time.  Punctuality says that you are interested in your case and its progress.  Cooperate with the people who are involved with your case.  They are just doing their jobs, so don't harass them.  If you are required to pay a fine, do it.  You can go back to jail for not paying your fines, costs or assessments.  Pay your attorney.  We don't work for free and it takes a lot of time and heart to work on your case.  We actually do care.

Domestic Cases

Get involved!!  If you are not involved in your case and your attorney has to hunt you down, don't expect to win.  Custody cases require your involvement in particular.  You are fighting for your child(ren)!  Be involved in your children's lives.  They love you and your spouse.  Attend their events, help with homework, know their teachers and ask them about their day not the other parent.  You should pay your child support or other support on time.  If you do not pay it on time, your ex-spouse will take you back to court.  Most importantly:  Your kids grow up and you can not recapture their youth.  Be involved now.

Personal Injury Cases

Make your doctor appointments.  If you doctors sends you to physical therapy then please go.  There is a reason.  Keep up with your receipts and mileage to and from your doctor's office, physical therapists appointments, or other injury related appointments.  Take your medication as prescribed.  Turn your paperwork into your attorney because it is a necessary part of your compensation.  After all you filed suit because your were injured.  Make sure your attorney has the information she or he needs to know how much your case is worth.  Make your appointments with your lawyer.  Your lawyer will need your help to answer questions and prepare you for depositions or trial.  Your lawyer cares and is trying to help you.  Please be punctual, you are not the lawyer's only client.  You will need to follow the directions of your lawyer in order to obtain the best results for your case.

Why us?

go With the Best

"Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best."  - St. Jerome

resources

Helpful information and FAQs

Can't find what you are looking for? Still have questions?
Contact Us ›

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DIVORCE IN MISSISSIPPI?

In Mississippi there are 12 grounds for divorce found in the Mississippi Code (our state laws, often referred to as "statute") in section 93-5-1. They are: 

1. Adultery
2. Bigamy
3. Wife's pregnancy by another at the time of the marriage and the Husband does not know that the child is not his
4. Habitual Cruel and Inhumane Treatment
5. Habitual Drunkenness
6. Habitual Drug Use
7. Desertion
8. Imprisonment for more than one year without pardon
9. Natural Impotency
10. Incest
11. Insanity at the time of the marriage
12. Institutionalized for insanity during the marriage


The most common of these grounds used are Adultery, Desertion, Habitual Cruel and Inhumane Treatment, Habitual Drunkenness and Habitual Drug Use.

However, quite often when a person does not have grounds for a divorce and the spouse does not want a divorce the person seeking the divorce generally uses habitual cruel and inhumane treatment in an effort to get their spouse into court and to understand that they no longer wish to live with them and to give them a divorce on the grounds of "Irreconcilable Differences".

"Irreconcilable Differences" is sometimes called the "13th" ground for divorce or “No-fault Divorce”. However, in order to get a divorce on this ground BOTH parties must agree that they do want a divorce because their marriage is completely broken and beyond repair. An Irreconcilable Differences divorce requires a 60-day waiting period, before it can be granted by a Judge, during which time both parties must come to an agreement on custody and child support, if there are any children of the marriage, as well as the division of property and marital assets.

IS THERE A LEGAL SEPARATION IN MISSISSIPPI?

No. Mississippi only offers divorce and what is called separate maintenance. The difference between the two is as follows: 

DIVORCE: 

There is a complete severance of the marriage and the husband and wife are no longer married and live apart free from interference from the other. The parties themselves or the Court will make a division of the assets and debts accumulated during the marriage and divorce them equitably (not necessarily 50/50). The parties or the Court, if the parties can not decide, will divide the furniture and furnishings and determine the amount of child support and/or alimony. If there is real property (house or land) the court will divide the property or the parties will decide who shall be entitled to the ownership of the house and the debt on the house. 

SEPARATE MAINTENANCE: 

The couple will stay married and there will be NO division of the assets or the debts of the parties. In this type of action the person seeking to have the other party evicted from the home must show the same grounds for separate maintenance as you do for a divorce. The Court will require the offending party to leave the home and to pay maintenance to the innocent party. Maintenance is child support and spousal support which can come in different forms, such as house payments, cash payments, car payments, etc. 

In this action you may not sell your property, transfer it to someone else and you may not let it go to waste just to spite the other person. 

MAJOR POINT: 

Both types of litigation COST about the same. Therefore, you must decide if you really want a divorce or to stay married indefinitely, but live apart. 

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET A DIVORCE?

If the parties have filed a Joint Complaint for Divorce which is an application to the Court together stating that they want a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences (no fault), and then depending on whether you have children, you will draft and file a document called a Child Custody and Property Settlement Agreement. This document must be completed, initialed and signed by both parties before it can be filed. Once this is filed, the parties must wait 60 days and then they are eligible for a divorce. You are eligible because 60 days has elapsed but it may be on a weekend or a holiday. Some Judges require lawyers to get an appointment to get the Final Judgment of Divorce signed. If everything goes smoothly and both parties agree, an irreconcilable differences divorce should take between 60 and 75 days from the time the Joint Complaint is filed. 

The time that it takes to get a divorce where one party files a divorce suit against the other party is totally unpredictable. It depends on what there is to fight about. For example, if the parties have no children, no real property and they are already living separately, and the only issue is who gets the money and who gets what possessions, it should not take much longer, if any longer, than the no fault divorce. If the parties are fighting over everything, kids, house, cars, savings, then it could take a long time. Some can go as long as two (2) years depending on the court calendar and the needs of the party.

HOW MUCH CHILD SUPPORT DO IHAVE TO PAY (OR SHOULD I EXPECT TO RECEIVE)?

Child support in Mississippi is based on our state statute, Mississippi Code Ann. Section 43-19-101. Child support is based on the adjusted gross income of the person who will be paying the child support. In other words, take your gross pay, subtract your taxes, medicaid, social security, and any mandatory retirement (state and federal employees) then if you are required to pay union dues or uniform costs (whatever is a requirement to do your job) then the remaining funds are multiplied by the following: 

one child - 14%
two children - 20%
three children - 22%
four children 24%
for any children more than four the rate is still 24%.

If both parties are going to share joint legal and physical custody then child support will be paid with each party paying the other the same amount of child support and the difference is the actual payment. For example: John and Sally have two children. They will each have their children one week each. Sally will pay John 20% of her adjusted gross income to John and John will pay Sally 20% of his adjusted gross income. Whichever payment is higher, the lesser payment will be paid to the appropriate recipient (the party with the lower income).

IS MISSISSIPPI AN ALIMONY STATE?

YES! There are four (4) types of alimony in Mississippi. They are: 

Rehabilitative: This type of alimony is awarded to someone who will need some time adjusting to the work force due to either being a homemaker or because they have been a student. Some reason has kept them from being able to enter the workforce at a level of optimum income based on their educational background. 

Reimbursement: This alimony is awarded to the spouse who worked while the other party went to school to become a doctor, lawyer, CPA, engineer or some other type of professional school that allowed him or her to make a substantial living and then after graduating and getting a good job, decides to trade their spouse in for a younger, newer model. The Court will allow the supporting spouse reimbursement for the time and money spent sending the husband/wife to professional school and putting their own interest aside, either to support that spouse or while raising a family. 

Periodic: This is alimony paid on a monthly basis to the spouse who has been involved in a lengthy marriage and is now too old or unable to become re-educated and needs support. This alimony can be modified by the Court either upwards or down depending on the ability of the paying spouse and the needs of the receiving spouse. Periodic Alimony is generally given in a marriage lasting beyond the 20 year mark and where the wife has had a traditional stay-at-home role. It should be noted that men can also be candidates for this type of alimony as well. The purpose to this type of alimony is to balance the equity of income in the parties and keep the parties living comparable to how they were living as a couple. 

Lump Sum: This is money paid to a spouse in a large sum or to be paid over a period of time. For example: John is to pay Sally $50,000.00 however, it will be paid at the rate of $500.00 per month on the first day of each month until paid in full. This type of alimony may not be modified and is taxable to the recipient (the party receiving the alimony payment) and deductible to the payor (the person paying it). This alimony is to even the estates of the parties and to compensate the party who has a lower chance of reentering the work force at a level comparable to the other spouse. Do not confuse this alimony with a division of the marital assets. Marital assets are the possessions, materials and things which were acquired during the course of the marriage. 

For more information, call the law offices of M. Judith Barnett at 601.981.4450.

Other Useful Information

Factors to consider in awarding alimony

ARMSTRONG V. ARMSTRONG 618 SO 29 1278 1993
FACTORS CONSIDERED IN MAKING ALIMONY AWARDS

1. The income and expenses of the parties;
2. The health and earning capacity of the parties;
3. The needs of each party;
4. The obligations and assets of each party;
5. The length of the marriage;
6. The presence or absence of minor children in the home, which may require that one or both of the parties either pay, or personally provide, child care;
7. The age of the parties
8. The standard of living of the parties; both during the marriage and at the time of the support determination;
9. The tax consequences of the spousal support order;
10. Fault or misconduct;
11. Wasteful dissipation of assets by either party; or
12. Any other factor deemed by the court to be “just and equitable” in connection with the setting of spousal support.

Factors in considering a reasonable award of alimony

HEMSLEY V. HEMSLEY 639 SO. 2D 909
IN DETERMINING A REASONABLE AWARD FOR ALIMONY, THE FOLLOWING FACTORS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED

1. The health of the husband and his earning capacity;
2. The health of the wife and her earning capacity;
3. The entire sources of income of both parties;
4. The reasonable needs of the wife;
5. The reasonable needs of the child;
6. The necessary living expenses of the husband;
7. The estimated amount of income taxes the respective parties must pay on their incomes;
8. The fact that the wife has the free use of the home, furnishings and automobile, and
9. Such other facts and circumstances bearing on the subject that might be shown by the evidence.

Factors to consider in determining an award of custody

ALBRIGHT V. ALBRIGHT, 437 SO.2D 1003 (Miss1983)
FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN AWARDING CHILD CUSTODY

1. Polestar consideration is the best interest and welfare of the child;
2. Age of the child;
3. Health and sex of the child;
4. Determination of the parent that has had the continuity of care prior to the separation;
5. Which parent exhibits the best parenting skills and which has the willingness and capacity to provide the primary child care;
6. Employment of the parent and responsibilities of that employment;
7. Physical and mental health and age of the parent; 8. Emotional ties of parent and child;
9. Moral fitness of parents; 10. The home, school and community record of the child;
11. The preference of the child at the age sufficient to express a preference by law;
12. Stability of home environment and employment of each parent and other factors relevant to the parent/child relationship.

Factors in determining a material change in circumstance for custody

CALDWELL V. CALDWELL 579 SO 2D 543 (Miss1999)
FACTORS IN DETERMINING MATERIAL CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES

1. Increased needs caused by advanced age and maturity of the children;
2. Increase in expenses;
3. Inflation factor;
4. The relative financial condition and earning capacity of the parties;
5. The health and special needs of the child, both physical an psychological;
6. The health and special medical needs of the parents, both physical and psychological;
7. The necessary living expenses of the father;
8. The estimated amount of income taxes the respective parties must pay on their incomes;
9. The free use of a residence, furnishings and automobile; and 10. Such other facts and circumstances that bear on the support subject shown by the evidence.

Factors to consider in a change of custody from one parent to another

TUCKER V. TUCKER, 453 SO.2D 1294 (MISS.1984)
TO CHANGE CUSTODY FROM ONE PARENT TO ANOTHER

1. A material change in circumstances under which the child is living with the custodial parent;
2. The living conditions with the custodial parent are adverse to the child’s welfare;
3. The Chancellor should find that the overall circumstances in which a child lives have material changed and are likely to remain materially changed for the foreseeable future and, of course, that such change adversely impacts upon the child;
4. What is in the best interest of the child to change custody, for the final analysis is the best interest and the welfare of the child which are the Pole Star considerations.

Factors to consider in making a determination of an award of tax exemption of a child to a non-custodial parent

LOUK VS. LOUK, 761 So.2d 878, 884 (Miss.2000)
FACTORS THAT DETERMINE WHETHER TO AWARD TAX EXEMPTION TO A NONCUSTODIAL PARENT

1. the value of the exemption at the marginal tax rate of each parent;
2. the income of each parent;
3. the age of the children;
4. the percentage of the cost of supporting the children borne by each parent; and
5. the financial burden assumed by each parent under the property settlement in the case.

Factors to be considered in determining each party's contribution to the accumulation of property

FERGUSON V. FERGUSON 639 SO. 2D 921(Miss. 1994)
FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING CONTRIBUTION TO THE ACCUMULATION OF PROPERTY

1. Substantial contribution to the accumulation of the property. Factors to be considered in determining contributions are as follows:
a. Direct or indirect economic contributions to the acquisition of the property;
b. Contribution to the stability and harmony of the marital and family relationships as measured by quality, quantity of time spent on family duties and duration of the marriage; and,
c. Contribution to the education, training or other accomplishments bearing on the earning power of the spouse accumulating the assets.
2. The decree of which each has expended, withdrawn or otherwise disposed of marital assets and any prior distribution of such assets by agreement, decree or otherwise.
3. The market value and the emotional value of the assets subject to distribution.
4. The value of assets not originally absent equitable factors to the contrary, subject to such distribution, such as property brought to the marriage by the parties and property acquired by inheritance or inter vivos gift by or to an individual spouse;
5. Tax and other economic consequences and contractual or legal consequences to third parties, of the proposed distributions;
6. The extent of which property division may, with equity to both parties, be utilized to eliminate periodic payments and other potential sources of future friction between parties;
7. The needs of the parties for financial security with due regard to the combination of assets, income and earning capacity;
8. Any other factor which in equity should be considered.

Forms

dedication

dedication to the job at hand

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." - Vince Lombardi

Services

We offer a variety of
legal services

If you do not see the legal services you need listed below, we still may be able to help. Reach out to us! ›

The law offices of M. Judith Barnett, P.A. has extensive experience in many aspects of the practice of law and litigation and in various settings. We represent our clients and provide ongoing advice and legal counsel to individual clients, families, businesses, agencies and corporate entities as well as in Youth Court, Chancery Court and Circuit Court. At the offices of M. Judith Barnett, P.A., we know the law.

Family

Law

  • ‍Divorce
  • ‍Child Support
  • ‍Alimony
  • ‍Termination of Paternal and Maternal Rights
  • ‍Temporary Custody
  • ‍Modifications of prior Orders of the Court
  • ‍Change of Custody of Children
  • ‍Change of Alimony
  • ‍Change of Child Support
  • ‍Change of Visitation
  • ‍Prenuptial agreements
  • ‍Same sex couples divorce and post divorce actions
  • ‍Prenuptial agreements
  • ‍Post Nuptial Agreements
  • ‍All Youth Court actions that do not include Pearl City Youth Court
  • ‍Powers of Attorney for military personnel
  • ‍Powers of Attorney
  • ‍Advanced healthcare directives

Criminal

Law

  • ‍Misdemeanor
  • ‍Felony
  • ‍DUI
  • ‍Federal Felony or Misdemeanor
  • ‍First Offender’s Bonds
    If you have never been convicted of a felony and you are charged with a felony other than armed robbery or murder - you may qualify for a First Offender’s Bond.  That is where the defendant can post their bond with the Circuit Clerk’s Office in the county where they are charged.  Then the defendant can get that money back at the end of his/her case less any court costs or fees.  At M. Judith Barnett, P.A. will let you assign that money to us as your attorney fee so that you do not have to post bond AND pay an attorney
  • ‍City Court, Justice Court, County Court or Circuit Court.  We practice in all 82 counties and the Federal Court system.
  • ‍If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime our firm handles appeals to the Supreme Court of Mississippi and to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • ‍We offer flat fees so that you know exactly what your fee will be and where your money is going on appeals.

Personal

Injury

  • Car Wrecks
  • 18 Wheeler Accidents
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Wrongful Death
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Personal Torts - assault and battery
  • False Imprisonment
  • Abuse of process
  • Causes of action against State or Federal government for personal injuries

Trusts,

Estates & Land

  • Simple and Complex Wills
  • Drafting of Deeds
  • Land Disputes
  • Probate of Intestate and Testate Estates
    (Without and With a Will)
  • Will Contests
  • Enforcement of Covenants

Commercial

Litigation

  • Formation of Corporations, Limited Liability Corporation, Professional Limited Liability Corporations
  • Defense of companies, large or small
  • Commercial Transactions
  • Breach of Contracts

statistics

Don't let yourself be a statistic

Hate crimes happen every day. Don't let yourself become a statistic. Have you been discriminated against because of your race, sexual orientation, gender, etc?  Let us help! ›

Hate Crimes

& single-bias incidents

According to the FBI’s latest report, law enforcement agencies reported 5,479 hate crime incidents involving 6,418 offenses to our Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program in 2014. And these crimes—which often have a devastating impact on the communities where they occur—left 6,727 victims in their wake.

Race
47%
Sexual Orientation
18.6%
Religion
18.6%
Other
15.8%
Emergencies

For Emergencies - Dial 911.

If you need answers to your urgent questions, after hours or on the weekend, call 601.946.8196
(8:00 am until 10:00 pm) to speak to an attorney.

Address

1911 Dunbarton Drive
Jackson, MS 39216

Phone

601.981.4450
from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fax 601.981.4717

let’s keep in touch

Receive a weekly collection of my most recent work by mail!

Thank you! You’re now subscribed to my mailing list!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form :(