Is your husband in jail? You met someone else? You want a divorce? Live in New York? It can happen, so long as he’s going to be locked up for 3 or more consecutive years. You don’t need his signature. If you married him while he was in jail this might complicate things a bit. But I believe the statute says so long as he is going to be incarcerated for 3 years or more, you can get a divorce in New York.
Did he get locked up shortly after you got married, like within a year? In the mean time you met the love of your life and he wants to marry you? Problems. Problems. Well, you are always free to move for an annullment. In New York you can get an annullment on several different grounds (not imprisonment!) but grounds such as fraud, concealment of fact, etc. So, you may be able to argue that, for example, he told you he wanted children when in fact he didn’t, and he concealed he was having a beef with the FBI and if you had known that, you would not have married him and you want the marriage annulled.
Did he give you a big rock of an engagement ring? You want to keep it so that you can sell it to pay your divorce attorney? I don’t know if that is going to fly. Technically once the marriage goes through you get to keep the ring. In this case, the marriage went through but an annullment is saying that the marriage never happened. Do you get to keep the ring? I would argue yes. But his lawyer may make you jump through hoops to either give the ring back, a prove your grounds for divorce or annulment. Of course, if you live anywhere but New York, you can just go for a no fault divorce.
Oh wait. New York is no fault now.
Forget everything I just said.
Originally published November 18, 2008 and updated January 14, 2012