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Can I Divorce an Incarcerated Spouse in New Jersey?

If you have an incarcerated spouse, you are most likely very aware of how hard it can be to keep your family and life together, especially if that spouse has been incarcerated for a matter of years. Many people choose to get divorced in this situation, and if you are looking to do the same, please continue reading and speak with our experienced New Jersey family law attorney today to learn more about the legal process ahead and how our firm can help you through it. Here are some of the questions you may have:

Is Incarceration a Valid Ground for Divorce in New Jersey?

Yes. Of the many grounds for divorce you can cite, incarceration for at least 18 months is one of them. If your spouse has been incarcerated for at least 18 months, you may cite imprisonment as your fault ground. Once you do, you will have to serve your spouse a copy of the complaint for divorce, and when you do, you must also inform prison officials, as the court will have to decide whether your incarcerated spouse may appear at the court hearings.

What Should I Do if I Want to Divorce an Incarcerated Spouse?

To divorce your incarcerated spouse, you must first file various documents. Some of those documents include the summons of your imprisoned spouse, a petition for divorce, and a court information sheet. After completing the initial steps, the divorce proceedings will resume more or less the same as traditional divorce proceedings, however, your spouse may not be allowed to attend the hearings. As long as you and your spouse can agree on your divorce terms, you will file an uncontested divorce. That being said, if you do not agree on divorce terms, you will file a contested divorce, and thereby begin the litigation process.

What Is the Contested Divorce Process Like?

When divorcing an incarcerated spouse, you will go through several steps, which are as follows:

  1. First, you will file divorce forms that are made specifically for incarcerated spouses. (If you choose not to go this route, you may file standard divorce forms from the family court.)

  2. Next, the criminal court should give you a copy of your spouse’s mittimus.

  3. Once you’ve received the mittimus, you will submit the divorce filing with the mittimus, as well as a filing fee.

  4. From here, you will attend at least one court hearing. In this court hearing, the court will decide whether your incarcerated spouse can attend the proceedings.

  5. Finally, you should receive a copy of the final divorce decree from the family court.

Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Firm

Juan C. Velasco, Esq. is a trusted attorney who concentrates on bankruptcy, family law, real estate, and estate matters who has been serving the New Jersey area for over 20 years. That is why we are confident we have what it takes to provide you with the effective legal counsel you need. If you need experienced legal counsel, please contact Velasco Law Office and we will be happy to assist you.