Imprisonment and Divorce

Confinement in prison is fault grounds for divorce, but the particulars of the imprisonment can matter. For example, two husbands drew prison time for drunken driving. A husband going to jail for sixty days for a drunk driving conviction probably would not be grounds for a divorce; a husband going to prison for three years for vehicular homicide while intoxicated probably would be. In this case, a short sentence for a lesser crime probably is not grounds; a long sentence for a felony probably is. Each state specifies how long the confinement must be for it to be considered adequate grounds.

Some states require that the imprisonment be for a felony, without specifying further the type or severity of said felony.

Subsequent exoneration does not affect the validity of the divorce. Even if the spouse was wrongfully convicted by a biased jury and prejudiced judge, it does not matter. The cause of the divorce -- imprisonment -- happened. The divorce and the incarceration, from a legal standpoint, are related (the same individual is a party in both) but separate actions. Even though the first was wrongful, the second was legitimate. There have been cases stating that parole, pardon, or actual innocence do not restore someone to a marital status if he or she had obtained a valid divorce. A divorce that is valid in all other respects, that is. Under these circumstances the best this couple could do is remarry.

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