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

By Teo Spengler

Updated March 30, 2020

lifestyle photograph of a young caucasian couple as the man becomes angry and abusive

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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.