Deciding to file for divorce from your partner can be overwhelming. You may have been happily married at some point or you may share children with your spouse, both of which can make the decision even more difficult. You may feel as though the decision is an inevitable one if your spouse has been found guilty of or pleaded guilty to a crime.
In Texas, you can file for divorce if your spouse is convicted of a felony during your marriage.
When filing for divorce from your spouse who is a convicted felon, it’s best to hire an attorney with experience handling this type of divorce. The San Antonio divorce attorneys of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. have experience representing clients who have divorced their spouses due to their spouses’ felony convictions. Divorces can be tumultuous. Our attorneys are here to advocate for your best interests, protect your legal rights, and help you throughout the entire divorce process.
For help with your divorce, you can schedule a meeting with one of our dedicated San Antonio divorce attorneys. We can discuss your divorce in detail and we can provide you with legal advice that’s tailored to your case. Call Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. at (210) 349-9933 or complete our online contact form today to begin the divorce process so you can move on with your life.
Felony Conviction as Grounds for Divorce
There are two types of divorces in Texas: fault-based divorces and no-fault divorces. No-fault divorces are filed on the grounds of what’s commonly referred to as “irreconcilable differences” (in Texas, it’s called “insupportability”). A fault-based divorce assigns blame to one spouse for causing the divorce. There are several grounds on which you can file for divorce in Texas. One of those grounds is the felony conviction of a spouse.
You can file for a divorce from your spouse on the grounds of a felony conviction if all of the following are true:
- Your spouse has been convicted of a felony.
- Your spouse hasn’t been pardoned for their conviction.
- Your spouse has been in prison for at least a year in any state penitentiary, a federal penitentiary, or within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Filing for Divorce in Texas
To file for divorce in Texas, you have to file a divorce petition. You have to meet a few residency requirements first, however. You or your spouse has to be a resident of Texas for six months before filing, and you or your spouse has to reside in the county in which you file for divorce for at least 90 days before filing. When you file for divorce, you’ll have to state the grounds on which you’re filing.
After filing for divorce, you have to notify your spouse of the petition you’ve filed. This is called “service of process.” In other words, by serving the divorce petition to your spouse, they’re informed that the legal proceedings to end your marriage have begun.
If your spouse is currently imprisoned, it may seem like it would be more challenging to serve them. But in Texas, there are methods by which you could serve your incarcerated spouse. You can contact a local sheriff or constable (peace officer) in the county in which you’ve filed your divorce petition. Some sheriffs and many constables are often tasked with serving people with legal notices so they should be familiar with the process. You’ll need to provide them with your divorce petition so they can then deliver it to the penitentiary where your spouse is located.
You’ll need to provide the sheriff or constable with the address of your spouse. If you’re uncertain, you and/or your attorney may be able to look up your spouse’s location and address in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Inmate Search or by using this link to the federal prison system. Other states likely have their own state prison record search tools on their prison websites.
After being served, your spouse has about 20 days to respond to your divorce filing. If they don’t respond, you’ll be granted a default judgment and will be able to continue with the divorce proceedings without input from your spouse. If your spouse does respond to your divorce petition, then the divorce proceedings will continue with both you and your spouse’s involvement.
Spousal Support and Child Custody/Support Issues in a Divorce Due to Felony Conviction
Part of what can make a divorce extremely difficult, hostile, and stressful is deciding how to divide shared property, and determining spousal maintenance (support/alimony), child custody, and child support. The most delicate issues between divorcing spouses are often matters concerning their children.
After you file for divorce from your spouse who’s been convicted of a felony, you and your spouse will begin working through these issues if the divorce is contested. A contested divorce is one in which the spouses disagree about an issue in the divorce. There are several ways in which you can proceed to resolve your divorce. In Texas, you can seek to resolve any outstanding issues in your divorce in mediation or arbitration. A court will still have to approve of any agreement and issue the final divorce decree, but these alternatives allow you to resolve sensitive issues without going through lengthy and possibly delayed court proceedings.
If your spouse agrees to an uncontested divorce, then the divorce may go fairly quickly.
Call Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. Today for a Skilled Divorce Attorney to Help with Your Case
If your spouse has been convicted of a felony during your marriage and you’ve made the hard decision to file for divorce, the experienced divorce attorneys of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. can help.
Each partner at Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. This certification recognizes our vast knowledge and experience in handling divorce cases. We can help you file for divorce from your spouse and fight for your divorce to be resolved with a favorable outcome for you.
Call us today at (210) 349-9933 or fill out our client intake form online to have one of our representatives contact you right away.