A bill that would have added domestic abuse as grounds for divorce in Mississippi has died in committee.
SB 2703, sponsored by Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, passed the Mississippi Senate but died when it wasn’t taken up by a House committee before Tuesday’s deadline.
Mississippi currently has 12 grounds for divorce, unless both partners agree. While habitual cruel and inhuman treatment is one of those grounds, domestic violence is not.
Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, a Republican, said the bill did not define domestic abuse narrowly enough and said it was already covered under “habitual and inhuman treatment.”
He said Mississippi should encourage married couples to stay together rather than ease divorce.
A similar bill, also sponsored by Wiggins, died last year after a 14th ground for divorce was added: Willful and continued separation with no intent to return.
At the time, Sen. Angela Turner, D-West Point, also argued people should stay married.
Mississippi is already one of the most difficult states in which to obtain a divorce.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Grounds for divorce in Mississippi
- Criminal conviction and sentence to any jail time
- Willful continuous desertion for at least one year
- Habitual alcohol or drug abuse
- Habitual cruel and inhumane treatment
- Wife’s pregnancy by another at the time of marriage without the husband’s knowledge
- Hospitalization or institutionalization of a spouse for three years due to insanity