How To Acquire A Divorce Decree When Your Spouse Is Nowhere To Be Found

Posted by on October 23, 2014 in Blog, Law | 0 comments

Estranged spouses in marriage are pretty common, but they are often no more than a few miles away. If you are trying to obtain a divorce from an estranged spouse, and you have no idea where he or she is, the divorce process is more complicated. The first thing you need to do is hire a divorce attorney from a firm like Granowitz, White & Weber Attorneys at Law, and then ask about the laws in your state regarding this particular divorce situation. Typically, you will need to consider the following in your pursuit of personal freedom from a non-existent, in absentia partner.

No Contact, Minimal Contact

Estranged can mean one of two things:

  1. Your spouse still has minimal contact with you because you share children or you have some social interaction among the same group of friends, but you are emotionally estranged.
  2. You have no contact with each other whatsoever and are physically estranged as well as emotionally estranged.

Your lawyer and the divorce court judge will want to know which distinction you use to describe your lack of relationship with your spouse.

Attempts to Serve Papers

If you have a vague idea of where your spouse might be, but neither you nor the state department of child support/ human services has been able to pinpoint his location, the courts will attempt to locate him too. Even with a lawyer’s help, you cannot garner a decree of divorce until every attempt has been made to serve papers on your soon-to-be ex. Most courts in most states consider this fair warning, and will not proceed until due course has been executed.


Additionally, some states require that you place a national advertisement in papers announcing your search for a divorce from your spouse. In legal terms this is called a “publication”. It gives your spouse one final chance to answer and appear before the judge rules in your favor.

The Final Action

On your court date, your lawyer will present the facts in your case and the claims you make to any and all property your ex has left behind. When your spouse does not show up to claim anything, or present the court with his or her current address for the purpose of child support and alimony, the judge finds everything in your favor. Some states may allow a grace period wherein your ex can reappear and reclaim property, but it is very rare, especially when these spouses have been gone for years.

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