Can a Husband File Criminal Charges Against His Wife in Divorce Proceedings?

By Teo Spengler

In some divorce cases, insults and allegations fly like autumn leaves. Even when spouses file for no-fault divorce in which no blame is established, spouses may recite ugly incidents, real or fabricated, to affect the court's property, support or custody rulings. However, spouses wishing to file criminal charges must take their allegations to a law enforcement agency.

In some divorce cases, insults and allegations fly like autumn leaves. Even when spouses file for no-fault divorce in which no blame is established, spouses may recite ugly incidents, real or fabricated, to affect the court's property, support or custody rulings. However, spouses wishing to file criminal charges must take their allegations to a law enforcement agency.

Court Jurisdiction

Not every court can hear every case. Rather, court jurisdiction is limited by state statute. Family law courts generally have the authority to hear cases that involve marriage and children, such as dissolution, name change and child delinquency matters. Criminal matters are heard in criminal court and criminal charges are never taken to court by members of the public, but by government personnel, instead.

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Criminal Court Process

Only government personnel can file criminal charges. At the state level, the office of the district attorney or the state attorney has the authority to decide whether the conduct warrants a criminal charge. If your spouse committed a crime, you should address your allegations to the proper authorities to have her prosecuted -- not the divorce court.

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Do I Have to File an Answer to a Complaint in a Divorce in Pennsylvania?

References

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Legal Actions for Adultery

The penalties for committing adultery vary widely from state to state. In California, adultery is not even a ground for divorce. However, at the time of publication, in South Carolina, adultery is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence up to a year. Depending on where you live and how you choose to legally address the transgression, the court could either not hold your spouse responsible for straying or award you a monetary settlement for his infidelity.

Do I Have to Be Divorced Six Months Before I Can Get Married Again in Minnesota?

In some states, such as Texas, divorcing spouses must wait for a specified number of days after a divorce before marrying someone else. The waiting period corresponds to the length of time allowed for filing an appeal. Minnesota, on the other hand, has not required a waiting period for remarriage since the law was changed in 1979.

Appeal Rights in a Divorce Case

When spouses do not reach agreement about the terms of their divorce, courts must decide issues for them, including child custody, alimony, child support and property division. Courts sometimes make mistakes, so spouses can appeal the court’s decisions by asking a higher court to reverse the trial court. However, state laws may limit a spouse’s right to appeal.

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