Is It Possible to Divorce without Knowing Where Your Partner Lives?


There are standard steps for anyone seeking a divorce. For most, they include getting a lawyer to draw up the papers, present them in a courthouse and send them to their soon-to-be ex-partner. These papers are usually sent to their residence. Once delivered, you should expect a response that could change the petition depending on several factors. These can include assets, child custody, visitation, mortgages, and more. If a spouse fails to respond as expected, the judge is entitled to offer the one who initiated the divorce everything they sought.

But, things can become problematic if you don't know where your spouse lives after the separation. This doesn't mean that you won't get divorced. Instead, you will be required to follow other alternative procedures as outlined below.

Notice by Publication

When your efforts to locate your partner are unsuccessful, you may request the court to send an order to publish a notice. This notice of divorce is usually done via local newsprint for the area where the spouse was residing before their partner lost contact. The legal advertisement can run for several weeks to give the other party adequate time to make contact on the marriage annulment notice. If they do not communicate, other steps may be followed to finalize the divorce.

Lack of Response After Publication 

If one partner doesn't get a response from the other party, they can still finalize the marriage annulment process by default. The judge will carry on the proceedings if they believe the other partner got the notice but decided not to respond. They will present the case and outline what the present spouse needs or wants. Some sensitive areas they may cover include alimony, guardianship, loans, property, and other assets. Then, they will give a ruling in the absence of the other partner.

Professional Search Help

A spouse who files for divorce may seek professional assistance to search for their spouse. This can be done before or after the notice by publication, either through an attorney or a private investigator. These professionals will determine the location of the other missing spouse by any means available to them. Whether the other spouse is married to someone else, using a different name, or dead, the lawyer or private investigator will unveil the mystery. If they are alive, the professional may choose to serve the marriage annulment documents directly. The other spouse might also be charged or face grounds for a valid separation that may affect them negatively.

Therefore, your spouse's absence shouldn't discourage you from filing for a divorce. Just talk to a divorce lawyer in your area so they can recommend an ideal way to ensure your marriage is legally annulled.


26 September 2022

Helping Victims of Domestic Violence

My name is Laura, and I am an attorney specializing in helping clients leave violent marriages. The law can help victims be safe, but many potential clients cannot afford legal services and may be afraid to pursue divorce. They may not be aware of services that have been created to keep them hidden from violent ex-partners and to help them be awarded assets in a divorce so they can provide for themselves and their families. I hope to raise awareness of these issues as well as help direct people in danger to facilities where they can receive guidance and financial assistance.