Domestic violence should be grounds for divorce

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 3, 2017

One of the many bills considered by the House and Senate during the most recent legislative session entailed establishing domestic violence as a grounds for divorce when both parties can’t come to an agreement as to dissolving the union.

According to news coverage, the bill passed through the Senate, but met with a major speed bump in the House, Mississippi House Judiciary Committee Chair Andy Gipson.

His reason? To Gipson the bill did not clearly define domestic abuse.

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His actual words? “To me the way it’s worded could possibly be interpreted that if someone raised their voice at their spouse, is that domestic assault? If that’s the case, then a lot of people would have a ground for divorce in Mississippi.”

It appears as though Gipson thinks there are a lot of verbal arguments going on in our state, which would lead to many people making appointments with their divorce lawyer.

While we agree with Gipson’s ultimate stance that fostering the longevity of marriage should be a couple’s number one goal, there are times when abuse can mean more than the infliction of physical wounds.

What may have been a loving relationship could have turned turbulent. And while simple arguments would not equate grounds for divorce, there are times when it’s clear the two people should go their separate ways.
The problem comes in when one party in the relationship refuses to agree to a divorce. While there are 12 legal ways to file for a divorce, many of them require the consent of both parties, including one of the most common, irreconcilable differences.

In reality, proving domestic abuse could be easier than Gipson makes it out to be. If law enforcement is called to a home for a domestic call, that incident now has a record.

It would be very easy to establish a precedent based on the number of domestic violence calls as grounds to grant a divorce. And that’s just one method.