Can I get a divorce if I can’t find my spouse?

3 November, 2009 by Lawrence in Divorce, Property Division

This situation is more common that you might think.  For various reasons, married couples sometimes split without ever ending their marriage.  Eventually one of them will want to marry somebody else, but they have this problem of the old marriage hanging around like an unsightly tumor and the previous spouse is nowhere to be found.

Attempt service at the last known address

The solution is simple:  File for divorce and have the papers served at the last address you have for your spouse.  If you have contact information for any family members who may know where your spouse is, try to get the information that way.

In any case, you need to try service at whatever address you can find.  If that doesn’t work, move to the next step.

Service by publication

After the personal service fails, the court will likely allow your lawyer to serve your spouse by publishing a notice in the local newspaper.  True, it’s a bit of a fantasy that your spouse will be out in the world scanning your local newspaper every week looking for notice that his marriage is ending.  However, notice of the action has been provided by public means, and if your spouse happens to see it, he can be heard by the court..

Once this is done, the divorce will proceed and you will be returned to single status.  The terms will be simple – you get to keep whatever property you have, and your maiden name can be restored.

If you are facing this situation, don’t let it concern you.  Contact me for help or more information about how to resolve your marital problem.