13th District Chancery Court

District Guidelines

Due to such a large district with five counties and to ensure that a case is set, please contact the appropriate Judge’s office to get a court date so that we may send out proper notices and/or complete Agreed Orders Setting Court Dates. Cases that are not noticed by the Judge’s office or an Agreed Order Setting Court date completed, may be subject to continuances. When a case is set or reset in Court, we do our best to put it on the docket, however to ensure that it is placed on the appropriate date, place and time, it is best to prepare an Agreed Order Setting the Case to be signed by the appropriate Judge and with said Order filed in the court file. Unless scheduled on the Judge’s docket, please check with the appropriate Judge’s office and/or the Clerk’s office before making a trip to present any ex parte orders to the Judge for execution. Neither Judge will conduct court proceedings in the Board of Supervisors room in Simpson County or the small court room in the Chancery Building in Jefferson Davis County, unless an emergency or unless otherwise indicated by their office.

Either Chancellor may sign Final Decrees for divorce only if they were filed as a joint complaint for divorce by both parties on the grounds of irreconcilable differences or open any estate(nothing else in estate matters) regardless of the Chancellor that the case was assigned to.  However, should any of these matters become contested or a petition for contempt and/or modification be filed therein, (INCLUDING ALL DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES CASES), then the case will have to be heard by the assigned Judge regardless of which Judge may have signed the original uncontested order.

If you are unsure which Chancellor/Judge is assigned to your case in order to contact the appropriate court administrator to set a court date, please contact the Clerk of the county in which your case is filed.

We have docket calls in each County, being the first day of that Court term. Docket calls are for setting cases, especially when the two sides can’t agree on a setting. Because of the Administrative Office of Court tracking requirements, any case that has been on the docket or will have been on the docket for a least one year from the date of filing may be set by the Court at docket call to try or dismiss. Pursuant to guidelines set for time standards, all uncontested divorces will be completed within six months, all domestic cases will be completed within twelve months of process, absence special circumstances, and all other matters within eighteen months. Any cases set by the request of any attorney at docket call or set by the Court will either be tried or dismissed on the day they are set. Although it is not a requirement that attorneys attend all docket calls, should they have a case that falls within the parameters above, not being present at docket call will not be an excuse for having a case continued. All regular Chancery Court terms for the two Chancellors will be conducted from Monday through Thursday of each and every Court term as outlined herein, unless a holiday occurs during said court term.

On a Rule 81 summons, the return date will be subject to one allowance of a continuance should either party request the same. Said continuance shall be set within a period of approximately two weeks, unless otherwise agreed by the plaintiff/petitioner’s attorney. Should you be employed to represent a defendant/respondent therein and will be asking for a continuance, every effort should be made to agree on a new date prior to the R81 hearing date so that parties and/or witnesses will not have to appear in Court when the case will be reset. If a new court date is reached to reset the case by the attorney(s), then the Attorney that set the R81 date should contact the appropriate Judge’s office and remove said case from the date prior to the court date.

REMINDER: Any ex-parte matters can be presented to the Judge from 9:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. any morning of any regular court term for either Judge, by contacting the appropriate Court Administrator to be placed on the docket or any other contested matters can be scheduled by the Court Administrator for the Chancellor that the case is assigned to, beginning at 9:30 am during the regular chancery court terms as outlined in the court calendar.  ON ALL WEDNESDAYS OF ANY DESIGNATED COURT TERM, temporary hearings, minor’s settlements, any ex-parte or any uncontested matters, can be scheduled on the assigned Judge’s court docket.

We do not require copies of motions, petitions, complaints, et cetera, sent to our office, unless requested.

FINAL JUDGMENTS

Generally, there is a difference between and “Order” and a “Final Judgment”. (See: M.R.C.P. 54(a) and M.R.C.P. 7(b)(1)). Sometimes, when we get the two confused and use the wrong designation, it is impossible for the Clerk to know that an action has or has not been finally concluded and thus, whether or not to file the final reports of the action and whether or not to close the file. In an effort to resolve this confusion, we should always use the designation Final Judgment when the action has been finally concluded. Temporary Orders should be designated as such and Orders on Motions should set forth the type or style of the Motion to which it applies.

Every Final Judgment should contain the following just above the quote “So Ordered and Adjudged” line:

“This is a Final Judgment”

Also, please recall that Judgments in divorces on the grounds of irreconcilable differences should be designated as Judgment for Divorce–Irreconcilable Differences. (U.C.C.R. 8.04)

INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED IN COMPLAINTS & JUDGMENTS IN DIVORCE ACTIONS

Section 93-5-33 requires that certain information regarding divorces be reported on forms furnished by the Mississippi State Board of Health. This Statistical Record of Divorce form furnished by the Board of Health requires the following information, inter alia, which must be included in the Complaint for Divorce as well as in the Judgment Granting Divorce.

  1. Husband’s Name (First, Middle, Last)
  2. Husband’s Race (White, Black, Native American, etc. . .)
  3. Husband’s Residence – State
  4. Wife’s Name (First, Middle, Last)
  5. Wife’s Maiden Name
  6. Wife’s Race (White, Black, Native American, etc. . . )
  7. Wife’s Residence – State
  8. Place of Marriage (State or Foreign Country)
  9. Date of this Marriage
  10. Date Couple Last Resided in Same Household (Month, Day, Year)
  11. Number of Children Under 18 in this Household as of the Date of Item 10
  12. Legal Grounds for Decree (Briefly Stated)

Also, all divorce cases SHALL HAVE financial statements filed in the court file, prior to presenting the Final Judgment of Divorce, pursuant to Rule 8.05 (including all attachments in accordance with said rule). Further, all divorces should have all the parties names, addresses and phone numbers included on the documentation including who prepared said documentation with name, address and phone number. (This includes Pro Se divorces).

Because we travel to five counties and our schedule may not allow us to return to a certain county for a month or longer, please enclose a self-addressed, pre-paid envelope when mailing orders to be signed and entered by the Judge. We do not mind filing orders when sent to us, however if we are not in the county that said case is filed when the order is received and a self-addressed, pre-paid envelope is not included, we will hold and file the order when we return to the county where the case is filed at that time.

All court files should only be checked out by attorneys or an employee of the attorney of record. Please be sure to sign the “Receipt Book” at the Chancery Clerk’s office when checking out files so that they may keep up with them. NO COURT FILES SHOULD BE CHECKED OUT BY THE PARTIES/CLIENTS OF THE CASE OR ANYONE ELSE NOT AN ATTORNEY UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY A JUDGE. Please DO NOT ASK the Judge or Court Administrator to check out or bring a court file to court. You are solely responsible for that Court file and seeing that it is brought to Court on the designated Court date especially if said Court date is outside of the county in which it is originally filed. If said court file is not brought to court on the designated court date, your case is subject to being continued.

DAVID SHOEMAKE
CHANCERY JUDGE POST ONE
GERALD MARTIN
CHANCERY JUDGE POST TWO
Serving Covington, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Simpson and Smith Counties