Can I Get a Divorce if My Spouse is in Prison in North Dakota?

Marriage, an eternal institution, occasionally encounters unforeseen circumstances that jeopardize its continuity. One such circumstance is when a spouse is convicted of a crime and subsequently incarcerated. If you find yourself in this arduous situation, you may be wondering if divorce is possible while your spouse is behind bars. Fear not, for this article will provide you with the answers you seek.

Grounds for Divorce in North Dakota

Before delving into the aforementioned question, it is imperative to comprehend the grounds on which divorce in North Dakota can be sought. The state caters to both fault-based and no-fault divorces, allowing couples various avenues to pursue.

  • No-fault grounds: Irreconcilable differences serve as the foundation for no-fault divorces in North Dakota. This legal ground stipulates that the possibility of reconciliation is simply too remote to consider. Remarkably, a no-fault divorce may be granted even if one spouse disputes the dissolution of the marriage vehemently.

  • Fault grounds: On the other hand, fault-based divorce grounds include adultery, desertion, cruel treatment, insanity for a minimum of five years, conviction of a felony, willful neglect, and abuse of alcohol or controlled substances.

Can You Get a Divorce if Your Spouse is in Prison?

The answer is affirmative. You can indeed pursue a divorce if your spouse is currently serving time in prison. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that the procedures remain identical to those of any typical divorce case, with the addition of a few supplementary factors that necessitate consideration.

Service of Process

Initiating the divorce process requires serving your spouse with divorce papers, an endeavor that can prove challenging with an incarcerated spouse. To fulfill this obligation, the divorce papers have to be sent to the Department of Corrections, who will subsequently arrange for their delivery to your spouse within the detention facility.

Property Division and Alimony

Property division and alimony present another potential area of complexity when one spouse resides behind bars. The process of dividing assets and allotting alimony becomes significantly more intricate when a spouse is imprisoned. The financial contribution and active participation of your incarcerated spouse in these proceedings may be severely constrained.

Child Custody and Support

In the event that you have children and are seeking a divorce while your spouse is incarcerated, the establishment of a child custody and support arrangement becomes imperative. However, this endeavor presents its own set of challenges. Unraveling what is truly in the best interests of the children while simultaneously respecting the parental rights of your imprisoned spouse necessitates careful navigation.


To conclude, it is indeed possible to obtain a divorce while your spouse is imprisoned in North Dakota. However, this path is undeniably more arduous than a conventional divorce case. Overcoming obstacles such as serving divorce papers and establishing child custody and support arrangements is vital. Thus, it is strongly advised to seek the counsel of a seasoned family law attorney who can capably guide you through this intricate process.

1 thought on “Can I Get a Divorce if My Spouse is in Prison in North Dakota?”

  1. I didn’t know that you could still get a divorce even if your spouse is in prison. This article says that the process is pretty much the same as a regular divorce, but I’m wondering how you can make fair decisions about stuff like money and kids when one person is in jail. It seems like it would be really hard to talk things out or come to an agreement. Does anyone know if there are special rules or help for these kinds of situations?

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