March 6, 2017
The Mississippi House of Representatives voted to add domestic abuse as grounds for divorce this afternoon when Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, brought out an amendment to Senate Bill 2680, which clarifies that abused and neglected children can be placed with their relatives when they are removed from their homes.
Gipson's amendment clarifies that "cruel and inhuman treatment" in the state's grounds for divorce law includes both physical and non-physical abusive conduct as a ground for divorce. The amendment thoroughly defines both types of conduct as well as outlines standards of proof that a spouse would need to make.
The amendment would allow the injured spouse's testimony to meet the burden of proof to divorce their partner. The House passed Senate Bill 2680 with the new amendments unanimously. Now the Senate will have to concur with those amendments or invite conference on the bill to keep it alive.
Last week, lawmakers and citizens alike criticized Rep. Gipson for killing Sen. Sally Doty's, R-Brookhaven, bill to clarify that domestic abuse could be grounds for divorce. Gipson initially said that domestic abuse was already included in the state's divorce grounds that says "habitual cruel and inhuman treatment" is a ground for divorce. Days after killing the bill, Gipson announced on Facebook and Twitter that he was working with the Center for Violence Prevention to come up with the "House plan for this issue." Today, before bringing up the new amendment for a vote, Rep. Gipson introduced representatives from the Center for Violence Prevention to the House.