Can You Divorce a Missing Spouse?

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Wooden dolls representation of husband and wife separatingWhen deciding to divorce a spouse you cannot locate, most jurisdictions allow service by publication. Courts permit this when one party cannot find the other spouse after a reasonable search. The notice can be published in a local newspaper or in some cases, outside the local courthouse to let the other party know that there is pending divorce action.

Your Spouse Should Know

It is important to note that the court will not grant a marriage dissolution without letting the other party know. Even if you don’t know where your spouse is currently living, the law requires that he or she should receive a notice. Courts will usually require you to conduct a thorough search before they allow service by publication. This means having diligent effort or trying every possible way to locate that missing spouse.

Spouse is Nowhere to be Found

Divorce attorneys in Colorado Springs, CO note that after a thorough search, you will need to let the court know that you can’t find your spouse and then ask for service by publication. This may involve filing a motion and a corresponding affidavit, noting the things you’ve done to search for the other party. The judge will then review the paper and issue an order for publication after approval.

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Granting of Service by Publication

The case can continue as long as you follow the right procedure. It is important to follow all the essential steps for the divorce to be granted and for the judge to rule in your favor. If you file the divorce petition, it is best to wait for a certain amount of time after the publication in the newspaper. This is to give the other party an opportunity to respond.

No Response from the Spouse

If the other spouse fails to respond within a specified period, the court will grant the divorce or issue a case by default judgment. The judge will decide on divorce issues like custody. In some states, however, the court may not make decisions on matters like property division and child support until the other spouse is present.

If you’re divorcing a missing spouse, it is best to consult a divorce attorney. This is to help you in filing papers and make sure that you’ll follow the procedures properly.