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The Divorce Encyclopedia

Term Definition Felony - a serious crime with a sentence of one year or longer.
Application in Divorce Crimes are generally classed as felonies or misdemeanors, depending upon the seriousness of the office. For example, aggravated assault is a felony; simple assault, a misdemeanor.

Many state codes provide for degrees or classes of felonies, with varying sentences for each.

As it applies to divorce, sometimes the secreting of assets involves actions deemed felonious.

Adultery is still a crime in some jurisdictions, but most fault grounds for divorce are not criminal. Divorce is a civil action, not a criminal proceeding.

Many acts of domestic violence would be considered criminal if committed upon a stranger. Acts of domestic violence, before, during and after a divorce, often require a criminal intent to be actionable.

Problems such as drug addiction or alcoholism, which may influence the court in deciding child custody, rarely go beyond courtroom walls in a divorce action. Child abuse, which is criminal in most states, may be referred to the proper authorities as a result of revelations in a divorce action.

See also Domestic Violence.

Compare Misdemeanor.

Resources: 18 U.S.C.A. 3559; Model Penal Code 6.01.

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