2007 Regular Session

To: Judiciary B

By: Representative McBride

House Bill 959



     SECTION 1.  Section 93-5-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     93-5-1.  Divorces from the bonds of matrimony may be decreed to the injured party for any one or more of the following twelve (12) causes, viz:

     First.  Natural impotency.

     Second.  Adultery, unless it should appear that it was committed by collusion of the parties for the purpose of procuring a divorce, or unless the parties cohabited after a knowledge by complainant of the adultery.

     Third.  Being sentenced to any penitentiary, and not pardoned before being sent there.

     Fourth.  Willful, continued and obstinate desertion for the space of one (1) year.

     Fifth.  Habitual drunkenness.

     Sixth.  Habitual and excessive use of opium, morphine or other like drug.

     Seventh.  Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.

     Eighth.  Insanity or idiocy at the time of marriage, if the party complaining did not know of such infirmity.

     Ninth.  Marriage to some other person at the time of the pretended marriage between the parties.

     Tenth.  Pregnancy of the wife by another person at the time of the marriage, if the husband did not know of such pregnancy.

     Eleventh.  Either party may have a divorce if they be related to each other within the degrees of kindred between whom marriage is prohibited by law.

     Twelfth.  Incurable insanity.  But no divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the insane party shall have been under regular treatment for insanity and causes thereof, confined in an institution for the insane for a period of at least three (3) years immediately preceding the commencement of the action.  Provided, however, that transfer of an insane party to his or her home for treatment or a trial visit on prescription or recommendation of a licensed physician, which treatment or trial visit proves unsuccessful after a bona fide effort by the complaining party to effect a cure, upon the reconfinement of the insane party in an institution for the insane, shall be regular treatment for insanity and causes thereof, and the period of time so consumed in seeking to effect a cure, or while on a trial visit home, shall be added to the period of actual confinement in an institution for the insane in computing the required period of three (3) years confinement immediately preceding the commencement of the action.  No divorce shall be granted because of insanity until after a thorough examination of such insane person by two (2) physicians who are recognized authorities on mental diseases.  One such physician shall be either the superintendent of the state hospital or the veterans hospital for the insane in which the patient is confined, or a member of the medical staff of such hospital who has had the patient in charge.  Before incurable insanity can be successfully proven as a ground for divorce, it shall be necessary that both such physicians make affidavit that such patient is a mentally disturbed person at the time of the examination and both affidavits shall be made a part of the permanent record of the divorce proceedings and shall create the prima facie presumption of incurable insanity, such as would justify a divorce based thereon.  Service of process shall be made on the superintendent of the hospital in which the defendant is a patient.  In event the patient is in a hospital outside the state, process shall be served by publication, as in other cases of service by publication, together with the sending of a copy by registered mail to the superintendent of said hospital.  In addition thereto, process shall be served upon the next blood relative and guardian, if any.  In event there is no legal guardian, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interest of the insane person.  Such relative or guardian and superintendent of the institution shall be entitled to appear and be heard upon any and all issues.  The status of the parties as to the support and maintenance of the insane person shall not be altered in any way by the granting of the divorce.

     However, in the discretion of the chancery court, and in such cases as the court may deem it necessary and proper, before any such decree is granted on the ground of incurable insanity, the complainant, when ordered by the court, shall enter into bond, to be approved by the court, in such an amount as the court may think just and proper, conditioned for the care and keeping of such insane person during the remainder of his or her natural life, unless such insane person has a sufficient estate in his or her own right for such purpose.

     Thirteenth.  Addiction to pornography.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.