Given the availability of no-fault divorce, there’s really no reason to stay stuck in an unhappy marriage. However, you still have to follow all the correct procedures and steps if you want the court to grant you a divorce. Otherwise, you may find yourself facing serious criminal charges.
That’s the position that a 51-year-old Houston man is in after he forged his wife’s signature and the signature of a notary on his divorce petition, making it appear that his wife consented to all the terms of the divorce. Based on those papers, a family court judge was tricked into granting the uncontested divorce.
That divorce has since been vacated for fraud and Harris County police now want to bring the man in on charges of aggravated forgery. They were alerted to the incident because the man’s wife filed a complaint once she learned that she’d been divorced without either proper notice or her consent. He could face up to 10 years in prison as consequences for his actions.
It’s hard to say exactly what motivated the man’s actions. Maybe he just hoped to avoid confrontation. Or, maybe he thought that he could essentially trick his way through a divorce and avoid paying support or splitting his assets fairly. That’s precisely why the court requires people to give their spouses fair notice that a divorce is pending.
Trying to evade the rules in your divorce case is always likely to result in trouble — even if you aren’t criminally charged. Regardless of your objectives, it is far wiser to discuss your situation and goals with an experienced attorney and come up with a winnable divorce strategy instead.