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We hope that you enjoy our posts and information on this site/blog and find them helpful for whatever situation that you may be having.  As always, we’re here to help you if you are going through any divorce, custody or family law issues in Memphis or North Mississippi.

Can you get a divorce if your husband or wife is in jail or prison?

Every so often we get asked the question: “My spouse is in jail – can I get an annulment or a divorce while they’re in there?”  The laws in Tennessee and Mississippi are very clear on that matter – in Tennessee, the statutes state, as grounds for divorce, “Being convicted of a crime that, by the laws of the state, is declared to be a felony, and sentenced to confinement in the penitentiary.” 
(Tennessee Code – Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-4-101 and 36-4-103)For Mississippi the statutes read much the same:“Being sentenced to any penitentiary, and not pardoned before being sent there.”
(Mississippi Code – Sections 93-5-1 and 93-5-2)

Generally we advise against attempting to obtain an annulment on the grounds of a spouse’s imprisonment, as an annulment is much more difficult to get.  It is a much simpler process to obtain a “no fault” divorce (based on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences”) than it is to get an annulment. 

When pursuing a no fault divorce, all you have to do is have your attorney complete an marital dissolution agreement, sign it and have your spouse sign it.  You are not required to see your spouse – we can get the paperwork sent to them in their facility, and include envelopes for its return.  This option is best when you and your spouse agree on a divorce, child custody arrangements, and property division.  We recommend you seek a divorce lawyer that offers a flat fee service for this process.  If you and your incarcerated spouse are in disagreement over whether or not to get a divorce, how to handle child custody, or who gets what property, you also have the option of filing for a “fault” divorce, on the grounds of “conviction and imprisonment.”  In this case there will be more negotiation, more court visits, and it is likely that the court will order all parties into mediation to resolve any disagreements.  With this type of divorce, you will have to show proof of your spouse’s conviction and imprisonment.  At most divorce lawyer’s firms the fees for this kind of divorce will be on a retainer basis.

The thing to remember from all of this is that it is possible to get a divorce from a spouse in prison.  If they have been convicted of a felony and there is some disagreement involved in the divorce, you are able to seek a divorce based on the fact alone that they are in prison for a felony.  (Remember: they must still be in prison at the time of filing for divorce!)  As your attorney we are able to get paperwork to and from them, and even to keep your address out of all filed documents to keep you as safe as possible. 

Call us today at 901-754-1340 if you have any questions on this or other divorce topics.        

What do I do If I’ve been served with divorce papers?

 Question:  I just was served with divorce papers from my wife’s attorney and she’s seeking a contested divorce.  I don’t live in the same state as my wife, what do I do? 

Answer In both Tennessee and Mississippi, when a divorce complaint is filed, you will be served with the a copy of the official complaint stating on what grounds the divorce is being filed on. The complaint will also state what state, county and court the case will be heard in.  Once you’ve been served divorce papers the clock starts ticking on your time limit to answer the complaint.

If it’s a contested divorce then you need to get to an attorneys office ASAP. There could be important deadlines that you don’t want to miss and you don’t want to wait until the last minute or else your attorney may not be able to help you. If the case is uncontested then you might be able to work things out on your own without having to hire a divorce lawyer. But this really depends on the complexity of your case and how many assets you may have and whether there are children involved.

My advice is to always call a good Memphis divorce lawyer’s office. Most will be happy to give you a free 30 minute phone consultation at the very least and you can learn more about what you need to do and whether or not you need a lawyer. But whatever you do don’t delay and procrastinate, doing so could cost you a lot of money if a default judgement is found against you.

Should You Date During Your Divorce?

This is an easy question to answer, it’s a resounding NO!

Although you may be separated from each other and living apart you should never date anyone while going through the divorce process. Rember, technically you are still married. What that means is that if you date someone while going through a divorce your spouse could sue you for divorce based on adultery.

You might say, “So what, who cares what he or she sues me for. I’m getting a divorce anyway.” But the truth is that a divorce based on adultery can cause major problems if you are wanting to get alimony or custody of children. You could end up without either if decide to date someone during the divorce process.

Not only that, but if you originally filed for divorce based on your spouses adultery your dating someone could destroy your grounds for divorce. When this occurs it is called recrimination and it can cause your divorce to drag out in court costing you thousands in legal fees and delaying your divorce.

Just remeber, your divorce will eventually be final and then you’ll have nothing but time to find and date that special someone. Until then keeps your hands to yourself and leave the dating life to your single friends.