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Divorce while spouse is in jail?

Farmingdale, NY |
Filed under: Uncontested divorce

My husband is in jail again (the 3rd time) for drug related crimes. I currently have full custody of my daughter and receive occasional child support checks (not often at all). Is there any way I can force my husband to grant me a non contested divorce?

His side of the refusal is that he wants partial custody of our daughter. That is not acceptable to me. Please help? He will be out on parole again soon. I really cannot afford a lawyer at this time, but could definitely use some advice.

Attorney Answers 2


Please be advised that I do not intend by providing this information to create an attorney client relationship. You cannot force him to give you a non-contested divorce. If he chooses to contest the divorce then he has the right to do so. However if his sole reason for contesting the divorce is the custody aspect of your request then he may have some problems ahead of him. If you already have sole custody through Family Court, and there are 3 convictions for drug related crimes, the Judge is likely to have issues with giving him custody. Not to say it cannot happen especially if he is actively involved in counseling and can show a change in lifestyle.

There are several things that you can do, First I would contact your county Bar Association and ask if they have a program to represent lower income individuals in matrimonial actions. Some counties have this type of program, and you may be eligible for it if they do. I also believe that you have a law school close by, you should also contact them and inquire if they have a program that is designed to assist lower income individuals who are involved in a matrimonial proceedings. A third choice would be to contact legal aid in your county and see if they take matrimonial cases. These organizations may be able to refer you to an attorney who takes clients for a lowered fee or would allow you to pay on an installment basis. If none of these turn out to be available to you there is a last option, the NYS Office of Court Administration has a web site that includes the forms for matrimonial actions. You may access this website and use their forms. I don't generally think this is a good choice, but it is one that is available. I would also note that it might be a good idea to get the matter started while he is in jail as you know that you can get him served with your papers.

Good luck with your efforts.

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You can't force him to sign an uncontested divorce. I suggest you contact the Nassau or Suffolk County Bar Association (depending on which part of Farmingdale you live in) and see about getting an attorney from either the Modest Means Panel or the Pro Bono Foundation.

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