Q: Can my husband go to jail? I received divorce papers from him, we live together & he says we have been separated 1 year.
We have been living together as husband and wife, in the same house as a married couple. I was served with divorce papers, out of the blue, for an absolute divorce. It states we have been separated for one year and we have not. We were married in 2013 and have been together on and off. However since August of last year we have lived together every day and are still together. He has not said one word about a divorce or about leaving. I have not told him that I received the papers but he is still living in our home (we rent) and acting as if nothing is different. I plan on getting a lawyer so that he will have to leave and wait a year because I have no idea what he is up to. I don't have the money for a lawyer so I want to ask that he pay back the fees. My question is can I pursue this? Isn't this perjury? Can't he be fined or go to jail? Thank you in advance.
A: Yes, he can for felony perjury and he likely should. More importantly so can you, if you go along with it. You have the right idea about consulting with a local attorney, so go do that as soon as you can to get options on how to best deal with this and a separation if that is ultimately what you want to do. Best of luck.
A: You can't put your husband behind bars in a civil lawsuit, as only the government can pursue criminal matters. The police are unlikely to show up and cuff him. It's actually very common for people to lie about the separation date, even if - in theory - there can be serious consequences.
However, there are some instances where one spouse can force the other to pay their legal fees. One is when the dependent spouse that can't afford a lawyer is trying to get alimony from a breadwinner spouse. The other is for bad faith litigation. If you collect evidence showing the spouse clearly lied in his complaint, that may - at a minimum - be a factor to help you.
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