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Can I Still Get Divorced in Michigan if My Spouse is in Jail?

 Posted on October 07, 2022 in Divorce

Oakland County family law attorneyFinding out your spouse is responsible for a crime serious enough to send him or her to jail may be a terrible surprise. Even if you were not surprised by your spouse’s behavior, you may have finally had enough. A jailed spouse may add some complications to the divorce process, but having a spouse behind bars may present the perfect opportunity to end a relationship—especially if the relationship is dangerous or abusive. If your spouse is in jail and you want to end your marriage with a Michigan divorce, read on and then contact a divorce attorney who can help. 

Can Imprisoned Spouses Attend Divorce Hearings? 

People in Michigan jails and prisons still have certain rights, including the right to appear in legal proceedings in which they are involved. Although you may never want to see your spouse again, it is important to be prepared for the fact that he or she could still appear at court dates. 

Whether your spouse will choose to participate in the divorce can be difficult to know ahead of time. Luckily, serving him or her divorce papers is fairly straightforward, as your spouse’s location is known. Your spouse will need to respond to your initial filing within 21 or 28 days of receiving the divorce papers, depending on how they were received. Whether your spouse chooses to respond will define the remainder of the divorce proceedings. 

What if My Jailed Spouse Refuses to Agree to a Divorce? 

Your spouse can refuse to participate in the divorce process, but ultimately, he or she cannot stop the divorce from moving forward. Without a response, you are more likely to receive a Default Judgment of Divorce, in which a judge will grant you all or most of the things you are asking for. 

If you have underage children with your spouse and hope to keep your spouse away from them by getting full custody, you will need to show good cause to overcome the presumption that the children’s best interests will be served by having a relationship with both parents. Clear and convincing evidence that your spouse was abusive, neglectful, or unfit to be a parent will be necessary. A divorce attorney can help you gather evidence and demonstrate any danger posed by your spouse. If you are seriously concerned that your spouse may retaliate once they leave jail, you can request a Personal Protection Order, effective from the date your spouse leaves jail. 

Call a Farmington Hills, MI Divorce Lawyer

Even if your spouse is in jail, you will be relieved to learn that you can still get a divorce. Get help with the paperwork, filing, and divorce settlement negotiations by calling the experienced team of Oakland County divorce attorneys with Elkouri Heath, PLC. We offer free consultations so you can meet our team and learn more about how we can help. Call us today at 248-344-9700




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