Can I Divorce My Incarcerated Spouse in New Jersey?

It is no secret that going through a divorce is challenging for any family. However, this is especially so in the event that one spouse is incarcerated. When dealing with these situations, it is beneficial to retain the services of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for assistance navigating this difficult time.

When Can I File?

There are several grounds for divorce in the state of New Jersey, one of them being incarceration. If an individual’s spouse has been in prison or jail for at least 18 months, they are able to file for divorce on the grounds of imprisonment. The law requires the individual to provide their spouse with notice of the divorce by serving them a copy of the complaint. They must also notify the prison officials in case the court allows the incarcerated spouse to appear in court. 

What Documentation is Necessary to File?

The process of divorce in the state of New Jersey requires several documents to be filed before moving forward. Three documents that are required include the petition for divorce, the summons of the incarcerated spouse, and a court information sheet. Once the documentation is filed, the proceedings can continue similarly to a regular divorce. However, the only exception is that the incarcerated spouse may be unable to attend the court hearings. If an agreement is reached by both spouses regarding the terms of divorce, the couple may file for an uncontested divorce. If they do not agree, they may be required to go through a contested divorce.

What is the Process?

In order for a divorce from an incarcerated spouse to be official, there are certain steps to be followed. This can include the following:

  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 are required to serve the paperwork, it is possible to hire the sheriff’s office to do so or send it by certified mail.
  4. After this, at least one hearing will take place. The court will decide if the incarcerated spouse will be transported from jail to attend. 
  5. Secure a copy of the final divorce decree from the family court once it is finalized. 

Contact our Firm

Ross and Calandrillo, LLC is a full-service divorce, family, and real estate law firm located in Mountainside, New Jersey. For strong legal representation in all of your divorce or family law matters, contact Ross and Calandrillo, LLC to schedule a consultation.