Can a Divorce Put You in Prison in North Carolina

Getting divorced is not a crime in North Carolina. If it were, nearly half of all spouses in the Tar Heel State would be behind bars right now. That being said, divorce trials are serious matters. Over the course of the legal process, many situations could arise that could potentially result in a spouse being arrested. It is important to understand how this might happen so that you can approach your divorce effectively and avoid needless legal consequences.

With the guidance of a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina, it is possible to avoid criminal charges that might arise during a divorce. Trust your attorney and listen to their advice, and you can approach your divorce in a confident, efficient manner. Generally speaking, the only spouses who go to jail as a result of their divorce are those who have failed to work effectively with their attorney. This might be because the spouse ignored their attorney’s advice, but it might also be because they hired an inept lawyer to represent them.

Contempt of Court

Spouses divorcing in North Carolina need to do everything in their power to avoid being charged with contempt of court. This is indeed a criminal offense, and you may be put in jail if you are held in contempt of court. There are actually two different ways in which you can be charged with this offense. The first is if you simply fail to act in a proper manner during the court process. For example, you might fail to remain quiet while other people are talking. Or perhaps you failed to show up entirely. Maybe you refused to provide certain information when a judge asked you questions. Anything you do that impedes the court process may be seen as contempt of court.

You can also be charged with contempt of court if you fail to abide by court orders, such as alimony or child support court orders. It is actually quite common for spouses to fail to make their child support and alimony payments, and this can result in serious legal consequences. If you continually fail to make these payments on time, you may be given a warning, and the judge will order you to make the outstanding payments within a certain period of time. If you still fail to make the payments, you will likely be convicted for contempt of court.

According to North Carolina law, criminal contempt carries a potential jail sentence of up to 30 days. You may also be fined up to $500. In addition, North Carolina has even harsher punishments for those who fail to pay child support. A single act of criminal contempt resulting from the failure to pay child support may result in 120 days of jail time.

Can You Go to Jail for Adultery?

Technically speaking, it is possible to be put in jail for committing adultery. Accusations of adultery may arise during a divorce trial, especially if one spouse is intent on proving the marital misconduct of the other. If sufficient evidence is presented and it becomes clear that a spouse engaged in adultery, there is a possibility that they will face criminal charges.

Under North Carolina law, adultery is a Class 2 misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted of adultery, you could spend 60 days behind bars. You may also face a $1,000 fine. Though there is some question as to the constitutionality of that criminal statute.

Concealing Assets

It is also possible for spouses to face jail time after attempting to conceal assets over the course of a divorce. Concealing assets can be a violation of a spouse’s fiduciary duty. This fiduciary duty means that spouses must disclose all important financial information to each other during the marriage.

Depending on the methods used to conceal assets, guilty spouses may face stiff legal penalties. They may be charged with crimes such as fraud or even money laundering. Even if they escape criminal charges, spouses who conceal assets can experience serious financial consequences, as the divorce may be skewed heavily in the favor of the other spouse.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching North Carolina for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. For many years, we have been helping spouses get through their divorce in one piece. We understand that this process might be stressful, and we can appreciate the strong emotions that might be associated with your divorce. Rely on our guidance, and we can make sure that you are approaching your divorce in an efficient, calm manner while giving guidance to help avoid potential criminal charges. Book your consultation today at 704.370.2828.