Is Teresa Giudice Planning to File for Divorce Behind Bars?


Real Housewives of New Jersey couple Joe and Teresa Giudice's legal troubles have been in the news for much of 2014. In March, the couple pleaded guilty to 41 counts of bank, mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud. Teresa was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, while Joe was given a 41 month sentence which will be followed by potential deportation to Italy. The deal they struck with prosecutors allowed them to serve their sentences separately, so that one parent would remain home at all times to care for their children. Teresa will serve her sentence first, followed by Joe.

Several media outlets have reported that Teresa intends to file divorce papers while serving her prison sentence, which begins January 5. She claims that she was not actively involved in the fraud and was simply guilty of being too trusting of her husband.

There is no law preventing someone in prison from filing for divorce, although this is relatively uncommon due to the difficulty of affording legal representation while behind bars. However, some prison legal societies do offer free representation for inmates.

The actual process of filing for divorce is not much different if one of the spouses is currently incarcerated. A person of limited means may apply for a fee waiver to avoid paying the state's necessary filing fees. To serve a copy of the divorce papers to his or her spouse, the incarcerated person must either hire a process server or ask a trusted friend or family member to complete the task. Any necessary hearings can usually be completed by phone.

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