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Freeing Yourself from An Unfulfilling Marriage

Couples experience a number of challenges that will test the strength of their relationship throughout their marriage. A criminal conviction can be one of the toughest.

While a jail sentence can call into question your future together, can you do anything about it while your spouse is behind bars?

How a Free Spouse Can Initiate the Process

A free spouse can initiate a fault-based divorce on the grounds of imprisonment only when their partner is serving a sentence of two or more years. However, spouses may still pursue divorce regardless of the length of the prison sentence for different causes. Some other common grounds for divorce include:

  • Abuse, be it verbal, physical, or sexual
  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Desertion, where a spouse leaves with no intent to return
  • Endangering the spouse or their children through drug use or general violence

This process can be simple if the incarcerated spouse agrees to all the significant issues related to ending their marriage, thus allowing it to continue uncontested. This will typically conclude without necessitating a hearing.

If the inmate rejects the claims in the papers, the divorce will be contentious and require lengthier legal processes.

While contention complicates the process, it does not stop it or make it impossible. The petitioning spouse maintains a variety of options to proceed with the dissolution of marriage, such as requesting a default judgement after an appropriate passing of time.

How an Incarcerated Spouse Can Initiate the Process

Incarcerated partners may initiate the process as well. Prison libraries contain the necessary papers and materials to begin the process, and the inmate may consult the prison legal counselor for assistance. The prison may even allow the inmate to attend divorce hearings in person, or by phone if they are not granted permission to leave the prison.

Key Takeaways

Incarceration will not impede either spouse’s pursuit of a divorce. Free and imprisoned spouses are equally able to initiate a divorce to end their marriage. So long as at least one spouse has been a Pennsylvania resident for at least six months, the couple should experience no issues in qualifying for a divorce. The only bumps in the road will arise if one spouse contests the terms the other sets forth in their initial divorce papers.

Call Cairns Law Offices for assistance with your divorce today: (888) 863-9115.

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