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Information Post** Changing Custody in Mississippi

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Senior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? MS

When I first came here, there wasn't a lot of information related to how changing custody works in MS.

The following is how my attorney explained it to me, and I wanted to post it here, in case anyone else from MS comes searching for information about changing custody in MS.

Determining if there should be a change in custody starts with a 3-part test. The non-custodial parent must prove:
1. That a substantial change in circumstances in the custodial parent's home has transpired since issuance of the last custody order;
2. That this change adversely affects the child’s welfare, and;
3. That the child’s best interest mandates a change in custody.

The non-custodial parent who wants to change custody has to meet all 3 parts of the test. You start with part 1, and if it doesn't apply, the case is dismissed and custody doesn't change. If part 1 applies, you go to part 2. If part 2 doesn't apply, it's dismissed. If part 2 applies, you go to part 3. If all 3 parts of the test apply to the case, then the judge uses the 'Albright' factors in determining who should have custody. There are 13 Albright factors that the judge considers. They are:
1. Age of the children;
2. Sex of the children;
3. Health of the children;
4. Which parent had more continuity of care of the children prior to the complaint being filed;
5. Which parent has the best parenting skills;
6. Which parent has the willingness to and capacity to provide primary child care;
7. Employment of the parents and responsibilities of that employment;
8. Physical health, mental health, and age of parents;
9. Emotional ties of parents and children;
10. Moral fitness of parents;
11. Home, school, and community record of children;
12. Child's preference to select custodial parent if 12 years or older;
13. Stability of the home environment and employment of each parent

So basically, this is what happens in a custody modification trial:

First, the judge determines if all 3 parts of the 3-part test are met. He/She does this by hearing testimony and evidence from both sides. If all 3 parts are not met, he/she dismisses the case.

If all 3 parts of the test are met, he/she moves onto applying the Albright factors. How he/she does this is he/she takes each factor and determines (through testimony and evidence) if that factor is in the mother's favor, the father's favor, or equal for both. If it's equal for both, it's basically a wash. He/She pretty much makes a list and tallys who has more factors in their favor, and that person gets custody.

Now, of course there is more to a custody trial than that. In a perfect world, that is how a custody trial would go. In the real world, both sides are slinging mud at one another, and hoping that something will stick. The judge is on a fact-finding mission, and has to weigh all the testimony he/she hears and evidence he/she sees.

And the judge doesn't always get it right.

Anyways, this is the bare bones of how changing custody works in MS.

I'll be back in a bit with some cites, so that if anyone ever needed to argue any of these points, they could do so intelligently.


Senior Member
Could you imagine how much time, heartache, fighting, and court costs people could avoid if they would look at their case, apply these common sense factors, and then decide how to proceed?

Or decide if they have evidence to back these factors up?

How many cases do we see here where moms and dads couldn't get past STEP ONE???

That's why I think this forum is so important. That, and helping people NOT to do something that violates another parents rights BEFORE they do something stupid and end up in hot water.

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