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What to Know About Divorcing an Incarcerated Spouse in New Jersey

If your spouse is incarcerated and you wish to get divorced, you will have to go through a certain process in order to do so. Read on to learn more about divorcing an incarcerated spouse in New Jersey.

What Does the Process Entail?

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

  1. Obtain either specific incarcerated spouse divorce forms or standard divorce forms from family court
  2. 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
  3. Submit the divorce filing with the mittimus and filing fee. If you must serve the paperwork, you can hire the sheriff’s office to do so or send it by certified mail
  4. Afterward, at least one hearing will take place. The court will decide if the incarcerated spouse will attend
  5. Secure a copy of the final divorce decree from the family court once it is finalized

When Can I File?

When filing for divorce, you will have to cite grounds. Grounds refer to the legal reason for the divorce. One of the grounds on which you can file 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 who wish to file for divorce 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 Documents Do I Need in Order 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
  • 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. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding divorcing an incarcerated spouse in New Jersey, contact our firm today. Our team of dedicated attorneys is here to walk you through the process.


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