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Specifics of seeking divorce while incarcerated

Divorce is often a frustrating ordeal, but having a clear understanding of the steps required can remove some of the difficulty. For those seeking to file for divorce while incarcerated, the process is a little more complex, but doesn't have to be overwhelming.

As the member of a marriage who is filing the paperwork to seek a divorce, you are known as the "petitioner". Your spouse, who will be responding to the request for a divorce, is known as the "respondent". Firstly, you should visit your institution's law library, where they will furnish you with the proper paperwork to file for a divorce. These documents do not vary from the documents for an un-incarcerated couple seeking divorce. Once the paperwork is properly completed, it should be filed with the county.

At this point, your inmate trust account will have the prior six months reviewed to determine whether or not you are considered indigent. This process will decide what your filing fees and process server fees will be. Once the review is completed, a hearing will be set in response to the initial filing, but you may not be brought to the hearing. The respondent will then be served the divorce papers and a hearing will be set, usually within 30 days of the respondent being served. On the date of the hearing, you will be transported to the divorce hearing and must sign all the associated paperwork.

Regardless of your circumstances, you deserve to have your interests represented and protected in a divorce proceeding. An experienced divorce attorney can help you take this step while preserving your rights and dignity.

Source: illinoisprisontalk.org, "Prison Divorce," accessed July 19, 2016

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