How to Get Divorced From Someone in Prison in Georgia

By Cindy Chung

To divorce a spouse who is currently in prison, a husband or wife must follow the divorce laws and civil procedure laws of Georgia. The general requirements to divorce an incarcerated spouse are the same as the requirements to divorce a spouse who is not in prison. However, incarceration may affect court location and the process of serving divorce papers on the other spouse. In addition, incarceration can impact custody rights decided during a divorce.

To divorce a spouse who is currently in prison, a husband or wife must follow the divorce laws and civil procedure laws of Georgia. The general requirements to divorce an incarcerated spouse are the same as the requirements to divorce a spouse who is not in prison. However, incarceration may affect court location and the process of serving divorce papers on the other spouse. In addition, incarceration can impact custody rights decided during a divorce.

Grounds for Divorce Based on Incarceration

A Georgia divorce petition, also known as a complaint, must explain the spouse's reason for requesting a divorce. Accordingly, the divorce papers must state the grounds for divorce. In particular, a spouse's imprisonment for at least two years after a conviction for a crime of moral turpitude may serve as grounds for divorce. The state of Georgia lists a number of offenses as moral turpitude crimes, reflecting a criminal defendant's wickedness, depravity and lack of honesty. For example, murder, fraud and larceny are all crimes of moral turpitude in Georgia.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

General Grounds for Divorce in Georgia

If a spouse would like to divorce a husband or wife incarcerated for a crime that does not qualify as a crime of moral turpitude, the spouse must use one of the other divorce grounds established by state law. Other divorce grounds available in Georgia do not require waiting until a spouse has been imprisoned for at least two years. For example, a no-fault divorce only requires stating a belief the spouses cannot repair their marriage. A spouse can petition for a no-fault divorce from an inmate at any time.

Georgia Divorce Forms and Procedures

A spouse divorcing someone in prison must complete the same paperwork required of any other couple starting a divorce case in Georgia. The spouse filing the divorce petition, known as the petitioner, must file the case in the proper county. According to Georgia civil procedure laws, a spouse should file for divorce in the superior court located in the county where the opposing party currently lives or, if the defendant has recently moved from the state of Georgia, in the county of the petitioner's residence. However, the county where the prison is located is not the opposing party's county of residence unless the opposing party previously lived in that county before incarceration. Upon the defendant's consent, the petitioning spouse may file her complaint in her own county of residence regardless of whether or not the defendant has moved from the state of Georgia.

Service of Process

A spouse filing for divorce must provide a copy of the divorce petition to the incarcerated spouse and the state's summons form; this step is known as service of process. The spouse must follow Georgia state laws regarding service of process. Service must take place according to the requirements set forth on the Sheriff's Entry of Service form used by the deputy or officer who serves the papers on the opposing party. The petitioning spouse must take care to address the divorce papers to the incarcerated spouse using the opposing party's full name, inmate identification number and address of the prison where the opposing party is serving time. Service of the petition gives the opposing party an opportunity to respond to the legal issues in the divorce.

Custody Issues Related to Divorce

If a married, incarcerated parent goes through a divorce in Georgia, the divorce may likely include child custody and visitation issues. Incarceration can affect a parent's custodial rights. For example, the state's child custody laws require a court to consider many factors when awarding custody to parents during divorce. The factors include the parent's relationship with the child and parent's ability to participate in the child's life. If a parent is in prison, the court might believe the incarcerated mother or father has a limited ability to parent the child. Furthermore, a lengthy term of incarceration can become a reason for the state to grant an involuntary termination of the incarcerated parent's rights.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Get a Divorce If You Are an Inmate in a State Prison in Georgia

References

Resources

Related articles

How to File for Divorce From Jail

You can file for divorce from prison, but meeting the filing and appearance requirements is more difficult. You usually must start the divorce proceedings in the court that handles divorce cases in your spouse's county of residence. Talk to your spouse before filing, if possible. If you both agree to the divorce and its terms -- referred to as an uncontested divorce -- divorcing while you're in prison becomes much easier.

Divorcing a South Carolina Inmate

If your spouse is incarcerated in South Carolina, you still can get a divorce under most circumstances. Your divorce will not be much different than it would be from any other spouse. However, the court may take your spouse's incarceration into account when resolving custody-related matters. If you claim separation as grounds for divorce, your spouse can attempt to stop the divorce by claiming the separation was involuntary due to his imprisonment.

How to Divorce a Missing or Abandoned Spouse in Georgia

The state of Georgia provides a variety of recourse for spouses needing divorce by default. Divorce by default in Georgia includes situations in which a spouse is missing, has abandoned the family or simply does not respond to a Petition for Dissolution. While Georgia maintains a no-fault "irretrievably broken" ground for divorce, abandonment and desertion are also grounds and these grounds may apply, even if your spouse's whereabouts are known.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Rights as an Abandoned Spouse in New York City

Spousal abandonment can be an emotionally difficult and stressful event, and some marriages may not recover after one ...

Terminating Visitation Due to Incarceration

If your ex-spouse ends up in jail, he can’t have normal visitation with your children, but he doesn’t ...

How to Divorce a Mentally Unstable Spouse in Florida

A mentally unstable spouse can significantly affect a marriage, and the couple may eventually decide to divorce. Filing ...

Divorcing a Convicted Felon

The felony conviction of a spouse can be disrupting and damaging to a marriage, especially if the convicted person also ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED