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divorce with a spouse in prison or jailFiling for divorce is difficult for all spouses, whether they’re going the cheaper online divorce route or locked in a prolonged courtroom combat. Each situation has its own set of challenges that the spouse must consider as they think about the next step. One of the less common divorce motivators is having a spouse in jail, yet it happens every day.

You’ll find that, like all moves for dissolution of a marriage, it has its own set of guidelines, and it can vary somewhat on the specifics depending on your state of residence. However, most follow a common pattern, and though different, it’s not difficult.

First: Visit With Your County Clerk About The Forms You Need.

The county clerk’s office is the common starting point for all married couples once they make the decision to file for divorce. The office can steer you toward the appropriate forms. Some keep it simple, while others have a slightly tweaked variation specific to marriages where a spouse is in jail. can take much of the legwork out of this by connecting you with the proper divorce papers in your state.

Next: Obtain A Copy Of The Mittimus. 

A mittimus is a transcript of the conviction and sentencing stages, which is duly certified by a clerk of court. This is an official record that the spouse is incarcerated.

After That: Submit Your Filing With Mittimus. 

You will generally have to pay a filing fee, which will also vary depending on your state.

Finally: Wait For The Signature. 

An incarcerated spouse will do one of two things at this point. He’ll either sign the papers, which will release the filing to a judge for final decree, or he’ll refuse to sign in which case the DIY part of the divorce is over, and you’ll probably have to get an attorney. In many states, being incarcerated is grounds for a divorce, so you’ve got the law on your side if that’s the case.

In Summary

While the above should in no way be taken as legal advice, it does offer a general overview of what to expect should you choose to go this route. For the specifics, make sure you speak to your county clerk, and best of luck!

5 thoughts on “Filing For Divorce With An Incarcerated Spouse — Is It Really That Different?


    my husband beat me almost to death, hit me on the head with a hammer, stabed my in the temple with a screw driver only 6 or 7 weeks after we were married hes in prison now and i want a divorice! he keeps threatening to finish the job when he gets out, i want out but it seems its going to cost me almost $500.00!!! what is taht? why do i have to pay so much to do it without him signing? can i file insanity? on his part? he has a massive brain injury!??

    1. Tamara

      ummm, whether you get the divorce or not however he is telling you he is going to “finish the job”, the police station in which he calls you has audio recording, or if he is tellin you that in a letter, you have a sound case that itll be self defense. Do you have police reports of him doing these things? Pics? If so save all for evidence (youll need that), get a gun! I firmly believe in the 2nd amendment and when it comes to being a new found single woman….. You are in charge of protecting yourself…. Go get a permit, see if your local sheriffs dept will train you on how to use the fire arm, otherwise seek training from an experienced individual. Then when he so-called comes back to “finish the job” youll be able to defend yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you to let the police handle a situation like that! There isn’t anyone any better who can protect you better than You! Get a gun, be pro 2nd, learn your hand gun inside and out and I’m sure youll sleep much better at night knowing that the good Lord and you has got this handled. Don’t hide the body though, be sure to call the police after and be very open on answering all questions with solid proof. Girl I’m personally glad I have a wonderful man, But I grew up in that type of environment. Trust me, you will not get any better advice anywhere than what I have just given you, God Bless and sleep well. 🙂

  2. brad rochester

    The only thing I find I don’t like, is the automatic assumption that the incarcerated party is the male


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