Can a Husband File Criminal Charges Against His Wife in Divorce Proceedings?

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In some divorce cases, insults and allegations fly like autumn leaves. Even when spouses file for no-fault divorce in which no blame is established, spouses may recite ugly incidents, real or fabricated, to affect the court's property, support or custody rulings. However, spouses wishing to file criminal charges must take their allegations to a law enforcement agency.

Court Jurisdiction

Not every court can hear every case. Rather, court jurisdiction is limited by state statute. Family law courts generally have the authority to hear cases that involve marriage and children, such as dissolution, name change and child delinquency matters. Criminal matters are heard in criminal court and criminal charges are never taken to court by members of the public, but by government personnel, instead.

Criminal Court Process

Only government personnel can file criminal charges. At the state level, the office of the district attorney or the state attorney has the authority to decide whether the conduct warrants a criminal charge. If your spouse committed a crime, you should address your allegations to the proper authorities to have her prosecuted -- not the divorce court.



About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson,,, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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