Divorcing a missing spouse

I havnt seen my husband in ten years we he
initially started thw divorce process then he
up and disappeared. How do I get a divorce??

Asked on May 31, 2018 under Family Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Before legal action can be taken against someone, that person must be given an opportunity to appear and explain their side. This is called "notice". And if a spouse cannot be located, then there is a legal remedy known as "divorce by publication" which allows the filing spouse to give a missing spouse notice. The filing spouse (i.e. the "petitioner") must make a genuine effort to find their missing spouse (i.e. the "respondent"). The Petitioner has to present proof to the court that they made good faith efforts to locate the other spouse. At that point the Petitioner will be allowed to "serve" the Respondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper (usually ones that are in the area of the Respondent's last known location; the judge will instruct on this). The Respondent will then typically have 30-60 days to file their "answer". If they fail to do so, the Petitioner can request to enter a "default divorce". As a generally, such a divorce is granted upon the terms requested (although the Respondent is given a certain timeframe in which they can file an appeal). At this point, you should consult directly with a divorce attorney in our area; they can best advise you as to how to proceed under state law.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Before legal action can be taken against someone, that person must be given an opportunity to appear and explain their side. This is called "notice". And if a spouse cannot be located, then there is a legal remedy known as "divorce by publication" which allows the filing spouse to give a missing spouse notice. The filing spouse (i.e. the "petitioner") must make a genuine effort to find their missing spouse (i.e. the "respondent"). The Petitioner has to present proof to the court that they made good faith efforts to locate the other spouse. At that point the Petitioner will be allowed to "serve" the Respondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper (usually ones that are in the area of the Respondent's last known location; the judge will instruct on this). The Respondent will then typically have 30-60 days to file their "answer". If they fail to do so, the Petitioner can request to enter a "default divorce". As a generally, such a divorce is granted upon the terms requested (although the Respondent is given a certain timeframe in which they can file an appeal). At this point, you should consult directly with a divorce attorney in our area; they can best advise you as to how to proceed under state law.


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