August 2020 Newsletter

August 2020 Newsletter

Irreconcilable Differences

Making the decision to file for divorce can be difficult and confusing. There are 13 grounds to which you can do this. Twelve are fault grounds and one is a no fault ground, Irreconcilable Differences. As a domestic violence victim, many times you would pursue a divorce based on a fault ground, namely habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, and more specifically, spousal domestic abuse. But sometimes, even though an individual is a domestic violence victim, they will choose to pursue an irreconcilable differences divorce as the sole ground or as an alternative if the fault ground isn’t granted.

A person generally pursues an Irreconcilable Differences divorce because it is less stressful, avoiding a big fight in court. Both parties mutually decide they want a divorce and what the divorce entails concerning custody or property. This will be reflected in the Divorce Complaint. Once the Divorce Complaint is drafted, both parties sign in front of a notary. After it is notarized, the Complaint is to be filed in the Chancery Court and must sit on file for 60 days before being heard.

In some cases, the parties agree to the divorce but disagree on custody and maintenance of any children or property. When this happens, the parties can consent to the divorce and permit the court to decide the issues upon which they cannot agree. This consent must be in writing and signed by both parties. If there has been a contest or denial, then the divorce cannot be granted on this ground unless they were withdrawn or cancelled. 

An individual must be a resident of Mississippi for 6 months before they can file for divorce. It must be filed in the county of either party when both parties are residents of Mississippi. However, if both are not residents, the divorce must be filed in the county where the resident of Mississippi lives. It must be stated in the Divorce Complaint that the wife is not currently pregnant. The wife can also request for her name to be changed back to her maiden name.

If you have any questions or want more information about Irreconcilable Differences divorce, please reach out to our Legal Services Coordinator at or 601-882-5550.

Community Member Spotlight:

Chief R. Luke Thompson:  Police Chief, Byram Police Department

Chief Luke Thompson is a native of Byram, MS. A graduate of Mississippi College, he began his law enforcement career with the Hinds County Sheriff Department, where he served as Emergency Dispatch and Patrol Officer. After time with the Hinds County Sheriff Department, he began a fulfilling career with the Gulf Coast Police Department in 2004. In 2010, Chief Thompson was appointed as Byram’s first Police Chief and was tasked with creating the city’s first ever municipal police department. He spearheaded the implementation of Lethality Assessments. This resulted in the Byram Police Department reducing the overall number of domestic violence calls by over 23%, having officers take only 3 ½ minutes to ask 12 questions to connect victims to resources. Chief Thompson was vital in the passage of the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), a newer universal crime reporting system that allows officers to log up to seven crimes collected from initial investigation. The system will greatly assist in our state’s reporting of crimes

Chief Thompson currently sits as President on the Executive Board of the MS Association of Chiefs of Police and is also a member of MCADV’s Board of Directors. This year, MCADV has chosen Chief Thompson to receive the Purple for Peace Award for his continuous efforts in the fight to end domestic violence. We recently had a chance to ask Chief Thompson a few question to see what motivates him. Find out his answer to that question and more below.

Best Vacation?

New York at Christmas / Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall

Favorite Food?

Anything but Mexican and Indian

Least Favorite Food?

Mexican and Indian

Favorite Movie?

Back to the Future Trilogy. Anytime it comes on television, I have to watch it.

If you won the lottery:

You’d never see me again.

Character trait you most admire:

Honesty. I can work with anyone; I can disagree with anyone; I can respect differences, but if I’m lied to, I have a hard time working with that person again.

What do you do for fun?

Woodworking. I love to build furniture, especially tables. I grew up in a house where life happened around the table. When I get to build a table for someone, I feel like they’re inviting me in to their life.

What motivates you?

One day hearing, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

What book are you currently reading?

I’m always reading more than one. Right now I’m reading, “The World as I See” It by Albert Einstein and “Be the Bridge” by Latasha Morrison

What drives you to achieve great results in your organization?

My mom always told me to I could do anything I put my mind to; my dad was one that never let me quit. Many folks that know me know my parents. It’s important to me that I represent them well.

How long have you been at your current place of employment?

Ten years, which is remarkable seeing that most people in my position only make it about 3 ½ years.

Your favorite memory at work?

The months following Hurricane Katrina. I worked for the Gulfport Police Department. During the COVID epidemic, I’ve heard so many people talk about how “we’re all in this together.” I truly experienced that after Hurricane Katrina. Neighborhoods came together and the community and police worked together because we were truly living out the circumstances together. In spite of all of the destruction, I saw the best in so many people of different races, religions, backgrounds, and everything else you can imagine. That was probably the most memorable part of my career.

What makes you angry?

Seeing someone take advantage and/or exploit someone else. Someone that has to cheat someone else isn’t good enough to come in second place.

Best advice anyone has given you?

“There’s an exception to every rule.” I’m learning that life’s journey is figuring out when the exceptions are appropriate.

What can you simply not resist?

Good coffee and fresh cannoli. You just can’t find good cannoli in our part of the country. I make them, but there still not as good as you can find in the Italian neighborhoods of big cities.

Do you have any nicknames?

I’ve been called a lot of things in my career, but nothing that has ever stuck to be a nickname.

Your life would be meaningless without:

My wife and family. My wife is my biggest cheerleader and there is simply nothing better than having those little girls excited to see me at the end of the day.

Most famous person you’ve met?

I got to meet President George W. Bush in 2015. My favorite was meeting Mac Powell (singer).

Craziest thing you have ever done?

Moved my wife and family several hours to my hometown to start a brand-new police department.

What are your best attributes?

I tend to say what I think

What are your worst qualities?

I tend to say what I think

Are you married? How long?

2020 made 12 years

Do you play sports?

Sometimes, but it’s not pretty.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up/start your day?

God and coffee. I spend the first hour of my day in God’s Word seeking His knowledge and wisdom for the day.

In honor of MCADV’s 40th anniversary, we have initiated the 40 for 40 Campaign. Our goal is to raise $40,000 so that we can better assist in enhancing our state’s victim service delivery system. Additionally, MCADV will be able to continue our work in supporting victims and survivors needing shelter and services, systemic advocacy, and legal services.

A $40 donation will:

  • Assist in making sure when a survivor calls, they get the help and resources needed.
  • Support our efforts to bring awareness and educate the community about domestic violence.
  • Underwrite trainings for advocates to increase the service delivery system for victims and survivors.

To make your $40 donation click the link below. Be sure to put 40for40 in the notes.

40 for 40 Donation

A Call to Congress: Supporting Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence during COVID 19 Relief

Over the past five months, Congress has passed multiple bills to help respond to the coronavirus. These bills have created various resources for families across the nation during the pandemic. Although many packages like the CARES Act have provided financial relief to some citizens, there is still more to be done for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. While parties and chambers continue to discuss how to best help Americans, we urge Congress to act now to pass a COVID- 19 relief package that addresses housing, economic, and physical and mental health needs of survivors of domestic and sexual violence and the advocates that serve them.

The House passed a $3.4 trillion bill called the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act in May. The HEROES Act includes: investment in grants like the Family Violence Protection and Services Act (FVSPA) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a critical fix to the Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) to maintain funding for victim services, and addresses the needs of non-citizen immigrant victims. Recently, the Senate introduced a series of bills known together as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act. The cost for the HEALS Act is estimated to be $1 trillion and it includes increases in urgently needed supplemental funds for FVPSA to provide shelter and services to domestic violence survivors. While both bills include advances for survivors, neither meaningfully address the needs for sexual assault survivors or Survivors of Color. The Senate Bill also fails to include the critical VOCA fix.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to severely impact domestic and sexual violence survivors and Communities of Color. Advocates on the frontlines need additional resources to ensure the safety of survivors and their staff. Survivors of domestic and sexual violence urgently need help to escape violence and rebuild their lives. Systematic racism has caused the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black Communities and Communities of Color, and additional barriers to safety and justice. MCADV stands with the National Network to End Domestic violence to urge Congress to support all domestic and sexual violence survivors in the next COVID-19 relief package.

For more information on how you can help urge Congress to support victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence email our Policy and Systems Coordinator at

Navigating the Waves of 2020

I tested negative for the COVID-19 virus, but I am positive that I have been affected. Not infected, but affected by the virus itself and the resulting changes in how we live. To mask or not to mask? How is the virus spread?  Is it safe to eat out? To return to the classroom or school at home? Does the person who coughs or sneezes in the grocery store have the virus? Will disinfectant spray and wipes ever be easily accessed again? Toilet paper? Paper towels?  Add to this the uncertainty of the ever-mounting racial divide? And what about the November election—what will life look like after the results are in, regardless of who wins?  I am definitely affected.

The CDC, in an article entitled “Mental Health and Coping During COVID,” offers support to those of us who are trying to make sense of the present normal and who are hoping that this will not be our permanent new normal. The article assures us that the uncertainty is normal, that pandemics elicit stress, fear, anxiety, and uneasiness. It acknowledges the ways our uncertainties play out: disrupted sleeping patterns, changes in eating patterns, worsening chronic health and mental health conditions.  It also reminds us that people react differently to the changes a pandemic brings. We may not immediately recognize how much we miss social interactions from the stranger at the gas station or with the person by whom we sat at our place of worship. We may not immediately recognize how much we miss impromptu meet-ups with friends, family gatherings, social gatherings like sporting events and concerts—things we did without wondering if we would catch (or transmit) a deadly virus. All of these normals that are absent from our new normal or at best, restricted, take a toll on our mental health.

If you find that you’re not feeling like your old self, maybe sadder, angry, or more uneasy than you used to be, know that you’re not alone. I suggest you read this ARTICLE. It offers tips on taking care of ourselves and our community, healthy ways to cope with and reduce stress, and resources to help us to take care of our mental health. First step—Take a deep breath and slowly exhale. We’re going to make it through this!

Submitted by Paula Granger, MCADV Training Coordinator

MCADV Hosts Advocate Coffee Break Series

MCADV is hosting a series of trainings facilitated by our Legal Services Coordinator and our Policy and Systems Advocacy Coordinator. The series will explore the basics of Advocacy as it relates to systems, policy and the law. Each session will be held from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The date of each session and a brief description of each is below. For more information on any of the training sessions, please email

September 15 – What Is Advocacy? Understanding Systems Advocacy – An exploration of the importance of understanding the correlation and interconnectedness between systems and advocacy.

September 16 – What is Advocacy? Understanding Policy Advocacy – An exploration of the importance of understanding the correlation and interconnectedness between policies and advocacy.

September 23 – Advocate Confidentiality – An in-depth look at HB 1386, Section I to educate advocates on what advocate confidentiality is and to whom it applies.

September 30 – Domestic Violence Defined – An expansive definition of Domestic Violence, description of the types of Domestic Violence and how Domestic Violence is defined by Mississippi law.

October 7 – Sexual Assault and the Law – An expansive definition of Sexual Assault and how it is defined by Mississippi law.

October 14 – Stalking and the Law – An expansive definition of Stalking and how it is defined by Mississippi law.

October 21 – Protective Orders Simplified – The different types of Protective Orders, how and where to apply for them and how long they last.

October 28 – Mississippi Grounds for Divorce – An in-depth exploration of all of the grounds for divorce in Mississippi.

This publication was funded in whole or part through support from Grant No. 2019-DW-AX-0013, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice from the Violence Against Women Act Grant.


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