Mississippi's Venue and Residency Requirements In Mississippi, divorces are heard in what is known as Chancery Court, which is a carryover from the English judicial system. Each county in Mississippi has its own Chancery Court and the county(ies) where a divorce action may be properly heard is known as the location of venue. A divorce based on one of the fault grounds (discussed below) is proper in: The county where the defendant resides or may be found; or The county in which the parties lived at the time they separated, so long as the plaintiff is still a resident of the county; or The county where the plaintiff is living, if the defendant is not a Mississippi resident. Divorces based on irreconcilable differences can be filed in the county where either party resides. No matter what kind of divorce is sought, at least one of the parties has to have been a resident of Mississippi for at least six months before filing. An exception to this rule is made for the many military service personnel we have on the Gulf Coast. Mississippi has Fault Based Divorce and Irreconcilable Differences Divorce In Mississippi, the divorce process begins with a Complaint for Divorce. The complaint must allege one, or more, fault-based grounds for divorce, and/or irreconcilable differences. Mississippi is one of the few states that do not have what is commonly referred to as "no-fault divorce." In Mississippi, both the husband and wife must agree to the divorce (even if they cannot agree on child custody or property division) or at least one of the following fault-based grounds for divorce must be proven: Natural Impotency Adultery Imprisonment Desertion Habitual Drunkenness Habitual and excessive drug use Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment Mental illness or mental retardation at the time of the marriage Bigamy/Polygamy Pregnancy of the wife by another person Incest Incurable mental illness The courts have interpreted the application of these fault-based grounds through years and years of case law. No two divorces include the exact same facts, hence there are literally hundreds of opinions on what set of facts and circumstances constitute one or more these grounds. You should consult an experienced divorce attorney to discuss which grounds might be available for you. Mississippi is an Equitable Distribution State In every Mississippi divorce, the court will apply a legal doctrine known as "equitable distribution." This means that the judge will divide the marital assets and marital property based on what he or she determines is fair. This does not mean that the judge will divide the property equally. In fact, it is rare that the property and assets are divided 50/50 and how it is divided is totally up to the judge. However, the judge's decision must include consideration of the following factors: Substantial contribution to property accumulation, including indirect economic contribution, contribution to family stability, and contribution to the education and training of the wage earning spouse Spousal use or disposition of assets The market and emotional/sentimental value of assets The value of each spouse's separate property/estate Tax consequences and legal consequences/obligations to third parties The extent to which property division and eliminate the need for alimony The needs of each spouse Any other equity factors the Chancellor deems necessary to consider There are many special circumstances that arise in this area of divorce law. For example, the rights of each party to a business one or both of them own and/or operate; Certain civilian and/or military retirement accounts and pensions may or may not be included in the equitable distribution depending on the facts of each case. Mississippi Awards Custody Based on the Best Interest of the Child If divorcing parents cannot agree on a child custody arrangement that the court will approve, the judge will determine custody based on the best interest of the child. More often than not, a form of joint custody is awarded. This means that both parents have physical and legal custody of the child, even though physical custody may not be equally shared by the parents. In determining the best interest of the child, the judge will consider the following factors: Age, health and gender of the child Parent having continuity of care prior to the separation Parent with best parenting skills and willingness and capacity to provide primary child care Employment of the parent and responsibilities of that employment Physical and mental health and age of the parent Emotional ties of parent to child Moral fitness of the parent Home, school and community record of the child Preference of the child at age sufficient to express a preference Stability of parent's home environment and employment of each parent Relative financial situation of the parents Difference in religion of the parents Differences in personal values of the parents Differences in lifestyle of the parents Other factors relevant to the parent-child relationship The evidence relating to each factor is usually presented at trial. The judge is not required to consider each factor equally, and the Mississippi Supreme Court has held that the factors are not to be used as a scorecard in awarding custody. In the typical case where joint legal custody (parents share the legal right to make decisions for and concerning their child), one parent will be designated as the custodial parent and the court will issue a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent. A Mississippi Divorce Can Take a Few Months to Several Years The particular and unique circumstances of your divorce will dictate how long it takes to complete. However, you should be prepared for a long process. Even uncontested divorces based on irreconcilable differences take at least 60 days. A fault-based divorce will take longer. A divorce involving high-value assets will take even longer. Issues relating to spousal maintenance (i.e., alimony), child support, custody, and use of property usually arise at or around the time of separation, which is typically much sooner than the actual divorce. To address these issues, Mississippi courts have the power to enter a separate maintenance order to provide for one of the parties and the children during the time between separation and the final judgment of divorce. A Fault-Based Divorce Requires Evidence If your spouse will not agree to a divorce based on irreconcilable differences and you cannot prove one of the fault-based divorce grounds, then you cannot get divorced in MIssissippi. It's plain, simple and harsh. It also means that you may have to be calculating when planning your divorce. Some investigation is likely going to be required. For example, if you suspect your spouse is cheating, it would probably be wise to keep your suspicions to yourself. You don't want to confront him or her and give them the opportunity to destroy evidence. You should consult a trusted Mississippi divorce attorney concerning questions relating to surveillance, data mining, cell/text tracking, etc. A Mississippi Divorce is Not Free In Harrison County, the base filing fee for an uncontested divorce is $113.00 as of the date of this writing. A contested divorce is $153.00. There are of course other fees that are owed in the form of court costs that are incurred in every divorce. These filing fees and other court costs do not include attorney fees and legal fees, which will vary dependent on the specifics of each divorce case. Additional costs that should be anticipated are private investigator fees, expert fees, deposition costs, etc. The least expensive Mississippi divorce is one based on irreconcilable differences, and where the parties agree on property distribution and child custody. I routinely handle such cases for $350.00 plus costs/expenses. If you are considering a divorce in Mississippi, I can help. I have considerable experience in Mississippi Family Law, including divorce, child custody (and modification), child support (and modification), separate maintenance, alimony (and modification), pre and postnuptial agreements, adoptions and termination of parental rights cases. I have represented clients at both the trial and appellate levels and have a clear track-record of success. My office is located in downtown Gulfport, Mississippi, but I service clients from Mobile to New Orleans and all places in between. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with me personally, call me toll free at (228) 206-5758 or email me at [email protected]
What are the grounds for divorce? Irreconcilable Differences; Adultery; Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs; Living apart for two years with no minor children; Inappropriate marital conduct; Willful or malicious desertion for one full year without a reasonable cause; Conviction of a felony; Pregnancy of the wife by another before the marriage without the husband's knowledge; Refusal to move to Tennessee with your spouse and living apart for two years; Malicious attempt upon the life of another; Lack of reconciliation for two years after the entry of a decree of separate maintenance; Impotency and sterility; Bigamy; and Abandonment or refusal or neglecting to provide for spouse although able to do so. How much does a divorce cost? It depends on every person's set of facts. Sometimes it can be very low. Sometimes it can be very high. Do I need an attorney? It is strongly recommended. A divorce may forever change your parenting time with your children, finances, and property rights. What is the waiting period after filing for divorce? 60 days without minor children; 90 days with minor children. At what point during the process can a spouse remarry? After a divorce is final, there is a 30 day appeal period. Therefore, you cannot marry until your divorce has been final for 30 days. At what point during the process can a spouse start dating? Until a divorce is final, if you date then that is adultery. Can I change my name? Yes. Actually, it is typically easiest to change your name at the time of your divorce. How long do I have to live in Tennessee to obtain a divorce? A divorce may be granted in Tennessee if either spouse has resided in Tennessee for six months prior to filing the Complaint for Divorce. What do I need to file for a divorce in Tennessee? The necessary forms include a Complaint for Divorce; Certificate of Divorce; and Summons. However, I highly recommend consulting with a lawyer prior to filing for divorce!
Step 1. Realize that pregnancy discrimination is real, alive and well and occurring every day in some American workplace. Given the brutal economic climate, it's easy to find yourself in a pickle once your company learns that you're pregnant. Your family may be thrilled, but your pregnancy's definitely not a major selling point to your company. What, I should congratulate you? (Says your boss to himself). Sorry, your pregnancy isn't good for business. First, you'll need tons of time off for doctor's appointments, sonograms, blood and other tests, lab work, and God knows what else, 'cause something always happens with the pregos, trust me, and you'll likely miss work or be late during your first trimester because you'll be calling out sick, or gagging in the subway from morning sickness. And then, you'll need a million bathroom breaks the more pregnant you get--you'll be in the john more than you're at your desk--your pregnancy is not good for our business. I can't make you work 'til all hours of the night anymore as you'll need to get home at a reasonable time to eat dinner and take care of yourself. And you can't even take clients out for drinks and a good time, now that you're done with drinking and having a good time. Remember that ambitious, hard-partying, attractive young go-getter we hired just a few years ago? Anybody seen her around? She's vanished. Very disappointing. Replaced with a larger, higher maintenance, mother-to-be model. Oh joy. And, btw, you sure don't look as sharp as you used to (people are talking), and even though I now know what you've been doing when you're not at work (eww, really?) your visible pregnancy is bleeding into my time now, and it's kind of altering the high regard I used to hold you in, even if I can't or won't actually admit that it's true; admit that I'm resentful. I'm just saying. Finally, the clincher, the coup de grace, the icing on the cake, is that you'll need to be out of work for your little baby vacay for three whole months, and, wait for it--your due date is smack dab in the middle of our busiest season--high five! Step 2. Realize that it's not in your head. You're not overreacting. It's happening. You tried to deal with it on your own, you sat down with your boss and explained to him that you are ready, willing, able and excited to travel to the big trade show in Paris next month, for example, but he kept telling you that he can't expose you to the rigors and dangers of traveling and flying now that you're "with child," so he's not letting you attend, or he's making sexist or stupid, disparaging comments. Or he's just plain messing with the conditions of your employment because for whatever his reasons, he's not happy that you're pregnant. It bothers him that you gotten yourself knocked up. Could be simple sexism, conscious or not, or just a resentful reaction to the limitations that your pregnancy and maternity leave will have on his operations--doesn't matter--if things started going down the toilet only after you told your company that you're pregnant, or only after you started showing, and your performance is otherwise of high quality, you are likely experiencing pregnancy discrimination in your workplace. Step 3. Realize that pregnancy discrimination is illegal. So you must oppose this unlawful employment practice, becausepregnancy discrimination is sex discrimination, and it's also often disability discrimination, as certain pregnancy-related limitations may accompany your pregnancy, and your maternity leave is by definition a disability leave (at least some part of it is), and disability leaves of absence are protected under federal, state and local anti-discrimination, or "Human Rights" laws. Step 4. Complain. In writing. Or some other provable way, such as tape recording your verbal complaint, if you work in a "one-party consent" state for digital recording purposes, without the other party's knowledge or permission. Here's why: Under the applicable federal guidelines and laws, if you feel that you are being discriminated against based on who you are as a pregnant woman, you must notify your company about what's going on so that they can investigate your protected complaint.. After your company completes the investigation into your concerns, if they agree that you're experiencing discrimination, they must fix it, take corrective action, so that the hostile work environment and discrimination doesn't continue to harm you. Even if you spoke about the hostility to your company's Human Resource person when you ran into her in the hallway, and she seemed perfectly nice, sympathetic and on your side, always follow up by email so that you've got a paper trail of your protected complaint, as such a record could prove critical later on if things really go south, as any adverse employment action taken against you would appear--and may well be in actuality--retaliatory, i.e., negative backlash resulting from your concern about the way you have been treated at work ever since your pregnancy became common knowledge. Step 5. Follow up. So, you've sent a letter of complaint to the powers that be, a letter that says, in sum and substance, dear human resource person: I love working here, and I've been an outstanding employee for years, adding substantial value to the company's bottom line, but unfortunately, ever since I told my manager Joe Smith that I'm pregnant, he's been so hostile toward me, or he's made some biased, ignorant, sexist or unpleasant remark about my perceived value now that I'm pregnant, or he keeps mentioning my upcoming maternity leave as if he's doing me a favor, and he seems to not expect me to return to work either, and/or he touched my belly without asking for my permission first, and now I'm hurt, upset, stressed and distraught, so please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss these serious workplace issues. Thank you. Signed, You. Then wait and see what your company does. They'll likely want to meet with you and ask you a bunch of questions. That's good. So, meet and speak, as you must cooperate with their investigation. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they'll do the right thing, understand what you're complaining about, and come to your aid and rescue by fixing it. Step 6. Keep their feet to the fire. They've interviewed you and spoken with your managers and co-workers. How's it going now? Are things getting better or worse? Has anyone said anything? Is it taking weeks for them to respond with something definitive? Be sure to follow up in writing, always politely and professionally keeping everyone honest by stating what's going on, and by asking relevant questions, so that you're maintaining a written chronology and story line that will be obvious later from the email threads that you're creating. This documentation of your meetings and discussions is perfectly appropriate and protective, if and when things finally do go off the rails completely. Step 7. Get the good news. Suppose you had notified your company that you've been getting less support from Joe Smith your supervisor ever since you were out for one week in your second trimester due to severe abdominal pain and cramping. You tried to speak with Joe about it but he won't give you the time of day anymore, and it's negatively affecting your work performance and morale, as you're feeling anxious, shunned, upset and fearful. The HR person calls you in to meet with her 2 weeks after you first spoke with her about these concerns and tells you that after completing the investigation, they've decided to have you report to Linda instead of Joe (Linda's super nice and has two young kids of her own). They're also sorry that you had to go through so much aggravation, but they appreciate that you brought it to their attention, as they're an Equal Opportunity Employer, and they have zero tolerance for sex and pregnancy discrimination. That's awesome. You thank her profusely and then later that day you email her again, this time to thank her for taking the time to speak with you, and to tell her that you also appreciate that the company was sensitive to your concerns, and that you're so looking forward to working under Linda starting next Monday, the effective date of the transfer. See, you've just won the battles and the war. No more Joe, replaced by a new and improved boss, and you've clinched it all with a thorough record (that old reliable paper trail you've heard so much about) of your complaint and its resolution, so that if you ever suffer any backlash later, you've got the whole civil rights thing squared away nicely.. Step 8. Get the bad news instead. After you brought the pregnancy-based hostility to your company's attention, they spoke with your manager and reviewed the situation, and it turns out that your manager has found all kinds of non-pregnancy related problems with your work, performance and attitude, and he's saying that your deficiencies were noticeable (and documented) way before your baby was even conceived, let alone showing, and making you run to the ladies' room 10 times a day. Suddenly your company is flipping it on you, saying that you're only complaining about discrimination to avoid facing the music of your failing performance, and also because they are none too pleased that you're refusing to go along to get along in their dysfunctional culture, so they're placing you on a Performance Improvement Plan. Time to shape up or ship out, young lady. This scenario is only slightly exaggerated to illustrate the point, which is that for some women, their pregnancies irreparably alter the landscape of their jobs, forever changing the manner in which they're viewed, and the person responsible for this loss of confidence in their abilities is often, but not always, the male manager, who seems to feel disappointed, slighted or betrayed by his employee, solely for the sin of getting pregnant, for having a life outside of work, for not being the perfect underling. And when companies are confronted with this particular dynamic, playing out in the form of a "she said, he said" conflict, where the "he" is the superior and more "valuable" player and the "she" is pregnant and something of a liability to the company, given that her job responsibilities will still need covering during her three-month maternity leave, and as she's been upset about issues related to her sex and pregnancy, the company is on dangerous ground as this is civil rights territory, so they often opt to remove this growing problem now, before it gets worse, and unfortunately, you are the growing problem. Step 9. Talk to an employment lawyer. The consult's probably free. You can't possibly know all the nuances at play in your particular workplace challenge unless you brainstorm with an attorney who concentrates in employee rights, preferably in the city or state where you work, as so much of law, like so much of politics, is local. You're looking for a Plaintiff-side employment lawyer, so you can search online, call your local bar association, contact the folks at www.nela.org, or contact me directly here. If after speaking with attorneys (as with doctors, it's always a good practice to get at least one second opinion) it seems clear that this marriage can't be saved, that the prognosis for remaining gainfully employed with your company is dim, and you found an attorney who gave you an insightful consultation and is willing to represent you, then you may want to start the process of divorce negotiations with your company, a separation that is typically accomplished in 8 to 20 weeks or so, when it's successful. Step 10. Get Out of Dodge. Ride Off Into the Sunset. I'm out of bad cowboy cliches, but now that you've ratcheted up the controversy through a letter accusing your employer of sex and pregnancy discrimination (mostly likely sent by your attorney, although some women manage to negotiate their final exit on their own), it's time to take action toward your separation from this company's payroll. Why would they negotiate with you? Because they want you out, and if they fire you, or give you an even harder time now, the company's actions will be appear retaliatory in response to your protected complaint. So, unless you punch your manager in his face, or come to work dead drunk, or otherwise give them a great reason to fire you independent of the pregnancy issues, they're stuck with you, although you're stuck with them too, so it behooves everyone to bite the bullet and work out a compromise separation that allows you to leave this place with dignity, with your shoulders squared and your head held high. And it won't hurt to take some of their money with you too, in the form of a severance payment to defray the harms and losses you suffered while working under these conditions, and for leaving their employ. When it has to happen, when the terms or conditions of your employment take a hit because of your pregnancy, or as a result of events and conditions surrounding your pregnancy in any fashion, following these 10 steps to protect yourself may permit you to leave with a financial cushion, unemployment benefits, a "neutral" employment reference, and best of all, an empowered departure will allow you to ease into a peaceful maternity leave with your baby, unmarred by severe workplace stress.
Technically, the answer to that is no. There are some circumstances under which, if you are pregnant and the person you are divorcing is not the father of the child and the father of the child is willing to sign an affidavit stating that they will take financial care of the child... that they will pay support and they're willing to come to court swearing that they will take care of that child who is their child, then the divorce may be granted. But for the most part, the divorce is not supposed to be granted if you are pregnant.
If you or your spouse are pregnant and getting a divorce, there are additional divorce issues to consider. For example, some attorneys recommend waiting until after the child is born to begin the divorce, so that the mother is still on her husband’s insurance plan. Other attorneys believe it is best to divorce before the baby is born so the child is spared the difficulty of divorce. Regardless of when you choose to begin the proceedings, getting divorced while you or your spouse is pregnant requires you to take several additional steps and to consider additional issues. These include establishing or disestablishing paternity, understanding the role of a guardian ad litem, and knowing the time constraints for each of these steps. Establishing whether the husband is the child’s biological father If a child is born during the marriage or within 300 days of the divorce’s conclusion, the husband is legally considered the father of the child. After the dissolution of the marriage, the father has the same rights and responsibility towards the child as the mother does. Depending on the divorce decree, it is likely the father will be required to pay child support. Ways to “disestablish paternity” The court will assume that the husband is the biological father of the child until you have disestablished paternity. Disestablished paternity means you have received a court order saying that the husband is not legally the father of the child. There are three ways to disestablish paternity: File for disestablishment of paternity along with the divorce papers. Just as with any divorce case involving children, it is highly recommended you have an attorney help you do this. This is a good option if the biological father is unknown or cannot be found. Paternity testing will be necessary. Sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity along with the husband, wife, and biological father of the child. This acknowledgment will be legally binding, and must be properly prepared. It will ask if paternity testing has been done, and ask which man is the father of the child, and which man is filing to be legally established as the father. You can find this form at your state's Division of Child Support or Community Service Office. Once the paternity is decided, it can only be challenged under special circumstances, and even then only for the first two years after the decision. Either biological parent files a Paternity Action. This asks the court to establish the biological father’s paternity and to come up with a child care plan, orders as to where the child will live, and a child support order. A Paternity Action must include the mother and all possible biological fathers of the child. If one or more possible fathers are out of the jurisdiction you are under, get legal advice about proceeding without them. The court may still be able to grant disestablishment to the husband, even if the biological father cannot be located. Role of guardian ad litem Once you have filed a paternity action, the court may present you with a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem (GAL) is a person meant to act in the interests of the child and investigate the child’s parentage. The GAL may be someone you know, such as a friend, or it may be a professional guardian. After the investigation, the guardian tells the court what would be in the child’s best interests, and may help come up with a detailed parenting plan and residence plan. The guardian may also decide if a disestablishment of paternity is in the child’s best interests. What this means is that even if the husband is not the biological father, the court, with the input of the GAL, can deny a disestablishment of paternity if they feel it is in the child’s best interests. You may have the chance to choose your guardian if both you and your spouse agree on the same guardian. Neither spouse nor any potential father can act as a guardian ad litem. Any fees for hiring a professional GAL are to be paid by the parties involved. A guardian ad litem is appointed if one of the following is true: The child is a party in the divorce. The court is concerned about the interests of the child being represented. It is important that the child be bound by the findings of the Paternity Action. The court denies genetic testing. Time limits for establishing and disestablishing paternity In a divorce with a pregnant wife, you are under a number of time constraints. Regardless of how you choose to establish or disestablish paternity, it will not be finalized until 60 days after the child is born. This does not mean that your divorce has to wait for disestablishment of paternity. As of 2005, a judge cannot deny or delay a divorce because the wife is pregnant. If the child is born before the divorce is finalized, you must disestablish paternity quickly if you have not already begun the process. You have two years to file and legalize it before the husband (or former husband) is legally recognized and responsible for the child. Otherwise, you have to prove that there is no way the child is his by presenting documents that support your claims. You must prove that you did not live with the spouse at the time the child was conceived, you did not have intercourse with the spouse at the time of the conception, and that the husband never openly treated the child like his own. Getting a divorce while the wife is pregnant is an extremely complicated and emotional issue. It is highly recommended to get counseling and legal advice, and to hire an attorney to help you resolve this as quickly as possible.
Bringing a child into the world is one of the most exciting and terrifying things a woman can do. No matter what your circumstances, you worry about the health of the baby and the sort of future you will be able to provide for him or her. If you happen to be filing for divorce while pregnant, these emotions and worries are even greater. To help you cope with the high emotions of this time, it is wise to make parenting decisions before the baby is born, get a solid support system, and educate yourself about the child, the divorce, and your options. One of the exciting parts of being pregnant is preparing for the baby, and many parenting decisions will need to be made before the baby is born. Even though you are going through a divorce, this step can still be exciting, and takes on new importance if you're going through a divorce. You will need to make decisions about child custody, where the child will live, and visitation. Most courts will want the child to stay with the mother if it is in the child’s best interests. If the father of the child wants to be a part of the child’s life, plan that out now. In many cases, couple’s counseling is highly recommended. The counselor may even be able to help you plan how to co-parent as a divorced couple. Also consider a divorce mediator. They cost less than a contested divorce, and help take some of the negative feelings out of the divorce. This can be important because you will need to be able to communicate well to raise the child as a divorced couple. Creating a solid support system for yourself and the baby is absolutely vital. It is highly recommended that you go through counseling to help yourself adjust to all these changes. You will likely need help working through the grief of a divorce, and the conflicting emotions of joy in having a child in the midst of it all. A counselor can help you make vital plans about raising a child and protecting yourself in divorce. They can also advise you about the types of people you surround yourself with. Make sure that the people you surround yourself with are supportive of you and the decisions you are making. You will need help once the baby is born, so have people around you who can help by shopping, cooking, and even watching the baby so you can sleep. You might even consider hiring a home health care professional to help you with the baby for the first few months. There are many online support systems of mothers who have gone through similar circumstances. These are people who have been where you are, and made it out on the other side. They can encourage you, give you advice, and remind you that you are not alone. Babies can feel your emotions in the womb, so try to find a support system to help you feel loved and safe. Know what to expect in raising a baby. Your first concern is the baby. Read as much information as you can about what having a newborn is like, and find a pediatrician you trust. Having a doctor for your child will help you immensely once the child is born. Finding a child care center you trust is another good decision. Learning about and planning for the future child will greatly reduce your uncertainty. In raising a baby on your own, you will need to know what resources are available to help you. If money is an issue, look into your state’s Women Infant and Children (WIC) program. This program can help you pay for healthy food for you and your baby. Know what to expect during a divorce. Once you have a workable understanding of what to expect in raising your child, you need to prepare yourself for the upcoming divorce. Know that your husband may choose to get a court order stating that he is not the father of the baby. This court order is called disestablishment of paternity, and is a long process that is finished 60 days after the baby is born. Another aspect of divorce to be aware of is financial and insurance matters. If you have a joint bank account, or are on your husband’s insurance policy, these are things you need to learn about and change. You will need to establish your own financial identity separate from your husband’s to support you and the baby. You will also need to get your own health insurance to make certain your baby is healthy and to pay for the birth of the baby. Divorce is one of the hardest things a wife can go through, and divorce while pregnant is doubly devastating. Remember that you are not alone, and that you have multiple resources to help you find peace and knowledge in this difficult time.
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