Divorce can stress people out and sometimes lead to bad decisions. Other times, divorce is a knee-jerk reaction from one spouse who doesn’t know what to do in an unusual situation.
Whether you got into a fistfight after drinking too much the night after your spouse served you with divorce paperwork or you found out your spouse wanted to divorce you after you got arrested for something completely unrelated, you likely feel like someone kicked you when you were already down.
Especially if you have children or plead guilty, your divorce might take longer than criminal proceedings. How will a guilty plea or conviction affect your upcoming divorce?
Your ex could seek a fault-based divorce
Many divorces in New Jersey are no-fault proceedings. If either spouse claims that the relationship has broken down and has suffered irreparable damage, the courts will typically grant a divorce even if the other spouse wants to remain married.
In some cases, one spouse files for divorce based on fault-related grounds, alleging that the other is responsible for the downfall of the marriage. Long-term incarceration is one of the legal grounds for a fault-based divorce in New Jersey. Your ex can potentially divorce you and blame the fact that you are responsible for the end of the marriage if you will be incarcerated for 18 months or longer.
A conviction can affect parental rights
If you have children with your ex, the courts will typically try to find a way to split custody between you that will uphold the best interests of your children. However, if one spouse can show that the other is a source of risk for the children, the courts may grant sole custody to one parent.
Incarceration typically means that you will not be capable of providing for your children until your release. You may be able to seek a modification after you serve your sentence, but it is worth noting that violent offenses or offenses that allegedly involve your family members could have a long-term, negative impact on your custody options.
Although it can be difficult to handle two different court proceedings at one time, you should not ignore divorce or family law proceedings to focus on criminal matters. You should try to respond appropriately to both, as they could affect one another.