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How do I Divorce my Incarcerated Spouse in New Jersey?

Going through a divorce is challenging for anyone that is involved. This can be even more so if one spouse involved is incarcerated. In the state of New Jersey, there is a different process as to how this is navigated than a typical divorce. When dealing with these situations, it is important to retain the services of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for assistance navigating this difficult time.

When Can I File?

When filing for divorce, spouses can cite certain grounds for the reason their marriage is ending. One of the grounds for a fault divorce is incarceration. If a person has been in prison or jail for a minimum of 18 months, their spouse can file for divorce on the grounds of imprisonment. Spouses doing so are required to provide the incarcerated spouse with notice by serving them a copy of the divorce complaint. In addition to this, they must notify the prison officials in the event that the court allows the incarcerated spouse to appear in court. 

What do I Need to File?

To file for a divorce in New Jersey, spouses must have several documents. Three important documents that are required during this time include the petition for divorce, the summons of the incarcerated spouse, and a court information sheet. When the documentation is filed, the proceedings can go on similarly to a regular divorce. However, the only difference is that the incarcerated spouse may not be able to attend the court hearings. 

What is the Process Like?

To officially divorce an incarcerated spouse, the following steps must be implemented:

  • Obtain either specific incarcerated spouse divorce forms or standard divorce forms from family court
  • Request a copy of the spouse’s mittimus from the criminal court they were convicted in. This is the document that committed them to jail
  • Submit the divorce filing with the mittimus and filing fee. If you must serve the paperwork, it is possible to hire the sheriff’s office to do so or send it by certified mail
  • Afterward, at least one hearing will take place. The court will decide if the incarcerated spouse will attend
  • Secure a copy of the final divorce decree from the family court once it is finalized

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.