The Effects of Incarceration on a Florida Divorce Case
The prison system puts significant strain on a marriage. Your lives are fractured by limited communication and access to one another. For some, these restraints aren’t enough to end a committed relationship but for others, incarceration (and other factors) are simply too much to overcome.
Before we continue, we want to acknowledge the fact that not all people in prison are guilty and there are numerous socioeconomic obstacles that lead to certain communities being disproportionately impacted by incarceration. We sincerely share our support for families and communities impacted by these circumstances.
For this article, we want to focus on the very real impacts the prison system has on marriages and, ultimately, Florida divorces.
Additional Obstacles Within the Prison System
In most divorce cases, serving divorce papers and holding proceedings is generally straightforward. However, when a spouse is in prison the process isn’t so simple. You still need to serve your spouse with divorce papers – if the spouse is in prison then you need to work with the prison to have an employee serve the papers on your behalf; if the spouse is on the outside then you likely need to have your attorney organize service for you.
Depending on the conviction, a person in prison won’t be permitted to attend hearings in person which means they will either only be represented by an attorney or attend by phone. There’s a chance this slows the process or adds additional layers not present in a typical Florida divorce. You need to be prepared for this and work with an attorney who understands the system.
Does a Conviction Give the Innocent Spouse the Upper Hand?
This is a common misconception we want to address. You won’t automatically earn favor with the courts just because your spouse has been convicted of a crime in Florida. If the crime is not a violent crime or drug/alcohol offense, then it may not matter.
If the court believes the crime they’ve been convicted of puts your children in danger, however, then it will impact considerations for child custody and child support. As long as the court deems the innocent spouse to be a capable parent then they are very likely to receive a favorable custody order.
Why You Need an Attorney for a Florida Divorce Involving an Incarcerated Spouse
All of this leads us to this final point: you’re going to need a Florida divorce attorney. These obstacles are challenging enough to overcome on your own, so it’s imperative that you speak with an attorney.
Your attorney will help you navigate the laws and regulations of the Florida prison system, assist you in serving divorce papers either to your spouse in prison or as an inmate, and ensure the process moves along despite the boundaries you face.At The FAB Law Firm, our divorce attorneys are equipped to assist families under a variety of circumstances. We provide aggressive, honest, and compassionate representation to all our clients. Contact the firm today if you need to move forward with your divorce.