Rights of Divorcing Felons in Texas

By Jimmy Verner

A felon who is getting divorced in Texas has the same rights as any other person getting divorced in the state. However, if the felon is incarcerated at the time of the divorce, he can face some difficulties in exercising those rights. Further, if there are children of the marriage, the court might terminate the felon's parental rights as part of the divorce, depending on the crime he committed. Commission of a felony is a ground for divorce in Texas and could cause a court to award most of the couple's property to the felon's spouse.

Felons Lose Some Rights

There are two kinds of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are more serious crimes. A felony is a crime for which the defendant could be sentenced to prison for more than one year. Because felonies are serious crimes, there are serious consequences to being convicted of a felony. In Texas, a felon loses his right to vote until he has completed his sentence, including prison, parole and probation. Absent restoration of his rights, a felon may not serve on a jury in Texas. Finally, federal law prohibits a felon from owning a firearm unless his rights have been restored.

Right to Testify

All Texas divorces require a trial. The trial can be a "prove-up," which is brief testimony before the court to formalize an uncontested divorce. Alternatively, in a contested divorce, the trial could take days or weeks and even involve a jury. Throughout this process, a felon enjoys the same rights as anyone else, including the right to testify, introduce evidence and argue his position to the judge.

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

Transportation to Court

If an inmate is in jail at the time of his divorce trial, he can face problems in presenting his case in court. The inmate does not automatically get out of jail to go to court. He must ask the judge to instruct the sheriff to bring the inmate to court for his divorce trial, but the judge can deny that request. However, if the judge decides not to order the inmate be brought to court, the judge must allow the inmate a way to participate in the trial, whether by testimony given at the prison, by telephone or through some other means.

Possible Termination of Parental Rights

Texas law permits a court to terminate a person's parental rights when he has been criminally responsible for the death or serious injury of a child. The crimes involved center on injuring or killing a child and on committing child abuse. A parent's rights can also be terminated if that parent attempted to or did murder the other parent or solicited the murder of the other parent. Termination of parental rights can take place as part of a divorce or in a separate proceeding.

Grounds for Divorce

Committing a felony is a ground for divorce in Texas if the felon has been incarcerated for at least one year. Even if a felon was not locked up for a year, or the court grants the divorce on no-fault grounds, having committed a felony can affect how the judge divides the couple's property upon divorce. A judge could award more marital property to the felon's spouse based on the consequences of his crime. For example, if the felon's crime bankrupted his family, a judge might award whatever property is left to the felon's spouse.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Get Divorced From Someone in Prison in Georgia


Related articles

Abandonment Laws in Alabama Regarding Marriage

Alabama state laws establish spousal rights in marriage and divorce after abandonment. In particular, Alabama law establishes an abandoned spouse's right to support and penalizes an absent spouse for desertion. Spousal abandonment is a fault ground for divorce with potential consequences in property division, alimony and child custody.

North Carolina Statutes on Marital Misconduct

Marital misconduct is unacceptable behavior committed by a spouse during a marriage in North Carolina. A spouse may use marital misconduct as a reason for a legal separation and for postseparation support -- which is awarded during proceedings and before a final alimony order. Marital misconduct may also influence the court's decisions with regard to alimony.

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.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

The Pennsylvania Laws on the Spouse Divorcing an Inmate

The Pennsylvania Code basically defines an inmate as a person committed to a term of imprisonment or in the custody of ...

Divorcing a Convicted Felon

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

Laws on Divorcing While a Person Is in Jail in Tennessee

In general, divorcing a person imprisoned in Tennessee follows the same process as any other divorce. The nature of the ...

Can a Divorce Take Place in Texas if the Spouse Is Incarcerated?

If you wish to divorce your incarcerated spouse in Texas, the procedure is much like any other divorce. The residency ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED