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.)

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