How Does a Spouse’s Incarceration Affect an Illinois Divorce?

DuPage County Contested Divorce AttorneyIf a spouse is currently in prison, divorce is an important decision that the couple may consider. The complex feelings and consequences of seeing a husband or wife go to prison can be overwhelming. In addition, the couple’s children will find it especially challenging to live without their incarcerated parent. This is why, depending on the situation, divorce might be the best option. There are many other reasons to initiate a divorce under these circumstances, and there are steps to take to ensure a seamless legal proceeding.

Reasons for Divorce During Incarceration

Studies suggest that incarceration increases divorce rates, and even if the inmate is released from prison, the marriage might still be more susceptible to divorce long thereafter. In fact, for every year a spouse is in prison, the likelihood of divorce during or after imprisonment increased by about 32 percent. There are many reasons for a divorce between one spouse and an incarcerated spouse, including:

  • Estrangement

  • Feelings of loneliness

  • Lack of intimacy

  • Financial problems

  • Child support issues

Reasons for Divorce After Incarceration

It might be easy to assume that once the incarcerated spouse is released from prison and back at home, the dynamics of the marriage and family will return to the way they were prior to incarceration. However, the truth is that the transition is often much more complicated than that. Even if the incarcerated spouse is released from prison, there are still greater odds of divorce resulting from the time spent locked up. Criminologists have researched the effects of incarceration on marriages and have found that even after being released from prison, the formerly incarcerated spouse and his/her spouse might exhibit the following characteristics:

  • More violent behavior

  • Less loving qualities

  • Extramarital affairs

Combine the above traits with many of the same issues faced during incarceration that persist even after imprisonment, and divorce becomes a likely outcome for many of these couples.

Legal Process for Divorce When One Spouse Is Incarcerated

Overall, the legal process for divorce when one spouse is incarcerated is not much different from the usual divorce process. In many cases, the two spouses agree to have an uncontested divorce, since this is the quickest, easiest, and most affordable option. In situations where a divorce is contested by one or both spouses, the process will be more challenging. Funds are limited, making it difficult for one or both spouses to afford a lawyer, and the imprisonment makes appearing in court problematic. Thankfully, some courtrooms in Illinois have agreed to allow proceedings via video.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Divorce under any circumstances can be a difficult decision to make, but when one of the spouses is serving time in prison, it can be even more challenging. Although it might seem daunting at first, with a knowledgeable and dedicated Wheaton, IL contested divorce attorney providing guidance, you can be prepared to navigate this major life event with ease. If you or your spouse are currently incarcerated, and you have questions about the divorce process under these special circumstances, call our office today at 630-871-1002 for a complimentary consultation.

Sources:

https://www.vox.com/2014/5/29/5756646/every-year-of-a-prison-term-makes-a-couple-32-percent-more-likely-to

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/the-difficulty-of-getting-a-divorce-in-prison/538653/

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