What can I do if I need to file for divorce but can’t find my wife?

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What can I do if I need to file for divorce but can’t find my wife?

I married in Mexico over 12 years ago and I can’t find my wife and I need to file for divorce. I lived in the U.S. for almost 2 years.

Asked on November 8, 2016 under Family Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your wife still lives in Mexico, you can check the court records there to see if she indeed already filed for divorce herself. If not, you can file for an "uncontested divorce", so long as you serve your wife with divorce papers in a way which complies with both state law and the applicable law of Mexico. For example, you can have her served at her current residence or, if you don't know her address, you can serve her by posting a notice in a newspaer (i.e. "service by publication"). She will also need to go to an apostile or notary at the nearest US embassy or consulate to sign the divorce papers before their being filed. However,if your wife intends to contest the divorce, then in some states things can get more complicated. In addition to serving the divorce papers on her, she may also need to gain lawful entry into the U.S. unless she can obtain what is known as a "waiver of appearance". 
Bottom line, if you cannot get your wife to agree to an uncontested divorce then you may face some difficulties. At this point, you should consult directly with a local divorce attorney who can best explain the procedures for all of this.


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