I don’t Know Where My Spouse Is!

I don’t Know Where My Spouse Is!

By Michael J. Costantino, Esq.

Information on how to get a divorce if you don’t know where your spouse is?

 There are several reasons for divorce; and in most cases, both spouses are available to go through the divorce proceedings together. However, if you want a divorce, and your spouse cannot be found, the court could terminate the marriage, by a process we call publication.
When personal service cannot be obtained, constructive service by publication must be sought, and constructive-service requirements must be strictly followed. The traditional method of obtaining service over a person in a divorce paper is by serving directly your spouse with the divorce action at his or her last known address, or wherever your spouse can be located.
When your spouse has been living apart for at least some time, you will need to do a diligent search for his or her whereabouts. A diligent search for the respondent must be made prior to the filing of the affidavit of diligent search. There is an affidavit that must be accomplished to document for the court what you did to locate your spouse. The affidavit will include the address of his or her last know residence and place of employment. Once this diligent search has been made you can ask the clerk to proceed by publication.
Therefore, if your spouse cannot be found, and you have made a diligent search, we can file a Notice of Action by Publication with the court. Then an add is run with your notice of your intent to divorce him or her in a newspaper in the local area. This legal advertisement will be run in the newspaper for about four weeks, and your spouse will be required to respond to the final notice.
However, if your spouse does not respond, a default can be obtained, and you will be able to proceed to final hearing in the divorce case. Therefore, you can divorce your spouse without his or her participation in the proceedings once the Judge is satisfied you did everything possible to locate your spouse, and properly complete the process to obtain the default.
The fact that your spouse cannot be located or does not participate in the divorce proceedings cannot stop the court from entering orders in regards to the dissolution of the marriage, the court is merely adjudicating a status (the marriage) rather than creating or dissolving specific duties or obligations. However, you cannot get support, or fees and costs from your spouse when you have obtained constructive-service by publication.
Meanwhile, to go through this process effectively when you spouse is missing or cannot be reached, quickly contact an experienced divorce attorney to proceed with the divorce process. The attorney will guide you through, and his experience will help in making the process not only easy but also successful.

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