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My Spouse was Recently Convicted, What Now?

The recent conviction of your spouse affects not just your relationship with each other as a couple, but also your marriage. This may be a difficult time for your family, especially if you have children who may or may not be able to fully understand what is on your plate. But, there are two things that you may choose to do, neither of which is an easy process: keep the marriage or get a divorce decree.

Keeping the Marriage

There are cases that a setback during the marriage makes the family stronger, with the innocent spouse choosing to stay in the household to fix whatever issue that may arise from the problem at hand, especially familiar matters. The people who choose to fix the marriage usually do it for the minor children, because they are the ones hugely affected by the present crisis. However, if there are no children involved, a deep devotion to the exchange of marriage vows may have reduced the gap that severed the relationship and led the remaining spouse to stay.

In your case, you may decide to keep your marriage and wait until your convicted spouse gets pardoned and released from sentence. You do not have to worry too much if you do not have minor children, but if you do have minor children, you should explain to them that the conviction should not define your family and keep going despite of your situation. 

However, in other cases, it leads to divorce. 

Getting a Divorce

In Texas, the court allows divorces based on conviction, which is one of the seven (7) grounds in obtaining a such decree. This is usually called a fault divorce.

If you decide to get a decree of divorce, you may choose to hire a divorce lawyer who can offer you his/her expertise when it comes to the field of law, or you may choose to represent yourself in court. This process will cost you money, since there are different fees that you may counter that varies in every county. However, the affordability of this type of service depends on the issue involved and how the other spouse, or the opposing party, is going to respond. The more issues you pose, the more it will cost you, such as when the issue involve child custody, management of the property and the likes.

You must also notify your spouse about the divorce even if he or she is in jail or prison. If your divorce is agreed, your spouse can sign the necessary court forms in jail or prison and return them to you. If your divorce is not agreed (or you don’t want to have contact with your spouse), you must have a constable or sheriff serve your spouse with the initial divorce papers in jail or prison.

Child Custody and Property Management

The law emphasizes that in cases like yours, the “best interest of the child” is the priority. Since the convicted spouse is absent from the family, the Judge will have to decide which is best for the children, taking into consideration your capability to provide for the needs of your children and how you may be able to sustain them.

The court will have to decide on the division of your property, taking into consideration the type of property you have, either community or separation of property. 

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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