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Can I Divorce My Spouse if He/She is in Jail? | What to Know

Our firm recognizes how challenging it is to get divorced if your spouse is in jail. That is why you will need to retain the services of one of our skilled Morris County NJ divorce lawyers today to discuss the details of your case and your options.

When can I file for divorce if my spouse is in jail?

In the event that an individual would like to file for divorce, he or she can cite specific grounds for the reason for the divorce. One of the potential fault grounds one can cite is incarceration. If a person has been in jail or prison for a minimum of 18 months, their spouse can file for divorce on the grounds of imprisonment. Spouses that choose to do this are required to supply the incarcerated spouse with notice by serving them a copy of the divorce complaint. They can accomplish this by notifying the prison officials in the event that the court permits the incarcerated spouse to appear in court.

What do I need to file for divorce under these circumstances?

To be able to file for a divorce in New Jersey, spouses must have a number of different documents. Three important documents that are needed during this time include the petition for divorce, the summons of the incarcerated spouse, and a court information sheet. Once the documentation is filed, the proceedings can go on just like a regular divorce. However, it is important to note that the only key difference, the only difference in this situation is that the incarcerated spouse may not be able to go to the court hearings.

How does the process work?

The following steps must take place in order to officially divorce an imprisoned spouse:

  • Get either distinct 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 brought them to jail
  • Submit the divorce filing with the mittimus and filing fee. If you must serve the paperwork, it is likely you can hire the sheriff’s office to do so or send it by certified mail
  • Once that is done, at least one hearing will occur. 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 completed


At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, LLC, our seasoned divorce and family law attorneys ensure that through the process of resolving your family matter, you feel empowered, not overwhelmed. Providing unwavering support, undivided attention, and unflinching advocacy, our team invests in your cause, working tirelessly to pave your path toward a brighter tomorrow. If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.