How do I serve my Husband with Divorce Papers if I dont know where he is?

My husband and I have been separated for almost 3 yrs. He has moved apparently out of state and no one even his Mother knows his where abouts, how do I file for divorce when I have no address to serve him the papers? do I use the last known address which is here in my town?

Asked on June 4, 2018 under Family Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If a spouse cannot be located, there is a legal remedy known as "divorce by publication" which allows the filing spouse to give a missing spouse notice of the divorce prodeedings. The filing spouse (i.e. the "petitioner") must make a sincere effort to find their missing spouse (i.e. the "respondent"). The Petitioner has to present the court with proof that they made genuine effort to locate the other spouse. At that point, the Petitioner is allowed to "serve" the Respondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper (the judge will instruct on which one). The Respondent will then have about 30-60 days to file their "answer". If they fail to do so, the Petitioner can ask the court if they can enter a "divorce by default". 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 can consult directly with a local divorce attorney who 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

If a spouse cannot be located, there is a legal remedy known as "divorce by publication" which allows the filing spouse to give a missing spouse notice of the divorce prodeedings. The filing spouse (i.e. the "petitioner") must make a sincere effort to find their missing spouse (i.e. the "respondent"). The Petitioner has to present the court with proof that they made genuine effort to locate the other spouse. At that point, the Petitioner is allowed to "serve" the Respondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper (the judge will instruct on which one). The Respondent will then have about 30-60 days to file their "answer". If they fail to do so, the Petitioner can ask the court if they can enter a "divorce by default". 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 can consult directly with a local divorce attorney who can best advise you as to how to proceed under state law.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.