How can I get divorced ifI don’t know where my spouse is?

My wife left our children and I in 1996 in CA. I heard from her once after I had applied for welfare and the state went after her to pay back the money; but not again since then. In 2001 my children and I moved to TX. I have no idea where she lives now and I just want a divorce.

Asked on July 29, 2010 under Family Law, Texas


S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In order to file for divorce you need to serve your ex wife. Whene you have a situation wherein you cannot find her, you need to request permission to serve her via publication. This means that you publish the divorce papers in a newspaper picked by the court. However in order to get that far you have to make a dilligent effort to find your ex-wife. The details as to what makes a dilligent search depends on the state. Usually you have to send something to her last known address, then request a post office search. You may have to run a DMV search and a social security search. If she has family you have to try and serve her there. Once the court is satisfied with the search you can then seek to have the service by publication. I would consult with a local attorney in your area to see what needs to be done to be deemed to have completed a dilligent search


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