6 June 2011 0 Comments

Divorcing a missing spouse

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There have been many cases when a couple is living apart and one wants a divorce – but, the other spouse cannot be found.  The law requires that you inform your spouse by serving papers.  What can a person do in this case?

The answer may be ‘Divorce by Publication’.  First, you must make a diligent effort to find your spouse in the area where he or she last lived.  Your experienced Family Law attorney will handle this by contacting agencies, such as the post office and motor vehicles department.  Your attorney will search the Internet and telephone directories in the surrounding areas.  If your spouse is found, papers will be served.

Now, if your spouse cannot be located, your attorney will ask the court for an Order of Publication.  You must show on the application the effort you made to find your spouse.  Once the judge signs the order, your attorney will publish a legal notice in all newspapers saying you are bring a divorce action against your spouse.  This is legal and compared to ‘serving notice’ with a summons.  

Remember, the legal notice must be put into the newspaper within 30 days after the judge signed the order.  The order will state how often it should appear.  After 30 days, if your spouse has not responded, your lawyer can file your divorce by default.  Your spouse will be considered to have “defaulted” and your divorce will be granted.

If you are looking to divorce your spouse but cannot find him or her, contact an experienced Riverside Family Law attorney for the help you need.

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