What if I can't locate my husband/wife to divorce?

In these tough economic times, many people put off seeking a divorce until they absolutely need to do it.  Many wait until they are ready to remarry to begin the process.  Sometimes years have gone by and the soon-to be ex-spouse is nowhere to be found.

One often overlooked step is to attempt to locate the missing spouse through their relatives or mutual friends.  Although one will eventually be able to secure a divorce with a missing spouse (we'll outline the process below), our first recommendation is to do everything possible to locate him or her as the divorce process will always be easier if the spouse can be located and persuaded to cooperate. 

Through web searches or by digging into Facebook, one can often uncover relatives or mutual friends who may have contact or at least contact information for the missing spouse.

If you can locate your missing spouse and convince them to cooperate to get a divorce, you can use an online uncontested divorce site such as http://www.ourdivorceagreement.com/.

If you cannot locate your spouse through relatives or mutual friends, you will almost certainly be able to get a divorce.

Each state/province has different procedures concerning how to proceed if you cannot locate the other spouse.  To find out how in your state/province, contact the clerk of your divorce court in your county. Some US court websites are listed at http://www.ncsconline.org/D_KIS/info_court_web_sites.html.  See if your court is listed there or look them up in on the web. You can search for the name of your county, state or province and the words "divorce court."

Ask the clerk of the divorce court in your county what the procedure is for attempting to notify a missing spouse that a divorce is pending.  The procedure usually is placing a classified ad in the local newspaper of the city in which the missing spouse was last known to be.

Some counties require multiple ads over a period of time.  Again, the clerk will be able to tell you the procedure for your county.  The reason for this process is that as a society we believe that everyone deserves our best efforts to notify them if a divorce is pending.  We would all want to have every reasonable effort tried before being divorced without our knowledge and consent.

Once you have complied with the notification requirements of your Court, you should be able to use the paperwork from an online divorce site such as OurDivorceAgreement.com to complete your paperwork.  You should enter all of your property and and debts into the Property Settlement Agreement and assign them to yourself.  If you have minor children, you would propose a plan that works for your situation (in that your spouse is not in the picture and obviously not involved with the children).

You will use your documents to file for a default judgement, in that your are asking the Court to grant your divorce according to your wishes only because you have attempted to notify your spouse but have been unable to do so.

After a mandatory waiting period, the court should grant your divorce according to your wishes or with modifications acceptable to the court.

If you have further questions, you may contact the author at mark.stein@OurDivorceAgreement.com or 502.897.3020.

(The information presented in this article is general and informational and is not intended and should not be intrepreted as legal advice.  There is no substitute for sound legal advice specific to your exact situation.)


More Client Feedback...OurDivorceAgreement.com

This program is really wonderful.  It makes the process so much easier even for those inexperienced at how this all works.  What a great tool and at an affordable price.  There were a lot of online sites to choose from and I am thankful I picked this one.  Your help is greatly appreciated.  Hoping for smooth sailing from here.  :-)



How Long Will it Take To Complete Our Divorce?

If a couple is using http://www.ourdivorceagreement.com/, our online divorce website, the length of time it takes to complete all of the documents depends on a number of factors. Some couples with few assets or issues complete the site in one sitting.  It depends on how complex the couple's situation is, how much needs to be discussed, etc.   Others complete it over time. Someone registering for OurDivorceAgreement.com gets unlimited use of the site, so there is no time limit and they get use of their account as long as needed.

In terms of how long it takes for the divorce to become final, that depends on the state of residence.  FYI, one files in their state of residence, not of the marriage.  Each state has a residency requirement and a waiting period - the time period between the date of filing and the date the divorce can become final.

Here is a link that includes the residency requirements and waiting period for all US states:

Once a couple completes their documents on our website or elsewhere, they take the forms and file them with the clerk of the divorce court in their county of residence.  Filing fees are paid to the court at that time.  Filing fees vary by jurisdiction.  The clerk should be able to tell you what they are for your jurisdiction.  Some courts insist that you appear before a judge in a hearing and some simply allow you to file the completed forms with the clerk.  Again, the clerk in your jurisdiction should be able to tell you the procedure.

Here is a website with the web contacts of many courts across the US.  http://www.ncsconline.org/D_KIS/info_court_web_sites.html 

Here is also a website with the divorce laws of all 50 US states:  http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/Table_Divorce.htm.

Securing a divorce can be stressful, time-consuming and costly.  But with online divorce sites like http://www.ourdivorceagreement.com/, a difficult situation can be much easier to bear.


OurDivorceAgreement.com client comment:

In addition to questions and answers from potential mediation and online divorce site clients, I will share comments from clients who give permission for us to do so.  Here's one from today...

"I have heard a lot of comments from divorced individuals of how the process with the lawyers was long and drawn out and not necessarily all needed. The ability for us to draw all of papers ourselves and mutually agree upon the information without the use of lawyers made the process MUCH Faster and I think less stressful...very specific and in-depth."  -Tara M.


Can we file a joint tax return in the year we divorce?

Some divorcing couples wonder how filing for divorce will affect their tax planning. Here are some considerations.

In most jurisdictions for tax purposes, you are considered divorced for the entire year if you are divorced on or before December 31 .   You are considered married for the tax year if married on Dec. 31.  Therefore, for the tax year in which you divorce, you must file separate federal and state tax returns.  You cannot file jointly for the tax year in which you divorce.

Many divorcing couples delay having the divorce finalized at this time of the year because there is usually a financial benefit to filing a joint, married return.  You can file a married, filing separately return if you find there is a tax advantage to doing so.

If you file for divorce towards the end of the calendar year and do not wish for the divorce to become final during that calendar year, you should make it clear to the clerk of the divorce court in which you are filing that you DO NOT want the final judgment or decree of divorce to be entered during the current calendar year.  They should put a note on the file to this effect.

On our online divorce site, OurDivorceAgreement.com, the Property Settlemment Agreement document  has language that confirms that you will be filing separately in the year of the divorce because you cannot file as married if divorced during the tax year, as explained above.

(By all means, consult your tax advisor for advice pertaining to your precise situation and please do not consider any information contained here to be legal advice.)


Favorite Divorce Quote:

"It's better to send your children to college than your attorney's." (unknown)


Greetings, Disclaimers and Such...

Greetings friends and fellow travelers,

Today, I begin to offer you my best from twenty-five years of dealing with divorce - as a participant and as a divorce mediator.  I began the journey as a twenty-something divorcing man with an eighteen month old child. I sit here today as a divorce mediator and online divorce site operator who never believes he has seen it all.

What I will offer you is my best information and beliefs to help you through this mine field of divorce.  I am not a lawyer.  I cannot and will not give you legal advice.  However, my years have taught me much about what has worked and not worked for thousands of couples and I will freely share that with you.  If something I say does not ring true to you, by all means discard it quickly.  If it does, please use it wisely and often.

Each day, I will share a tip, a quote, a story to help you along the path.  Please feel free to contact me at mstein@MediationFirst.com, mark.stein@OurDivorceAgreement.com, or +1 502 897 3020.

Remember, there's no such thing as an easy divorce.