If my wife left my son a year ago and I haven’t seen her since, canI get a divorce without her?

Asked on October 20, 2011 under Family Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Quite possibly. There is a legal remedy known as "divorce by publication". The fact is that before legal action can be taken against a person they must be given an opportunity to appear and explain their side. This is what is called "notice".  And a divorce by publication allows a spouse to be served notice of the divorce action. 

The Petitioner (i.e. the filing spouse) must make a dilegent search to find the Respondent (i.e. the missing spouse). The Petitioner has to present proof to a court that they made a good faith effort to uncover their spouse's whereabouts. At that point the Petitioner will be allowed to "serve" the Repondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper (instead of the more usual method of personal service.  The court will instruct the Petitioner as to which newspaper should be used (typically one that is in the area of the Respondent's last known address). 

The Respondent then has 30-60 days to file an answer. If they fail to do so, the Petitioner can file a request to enter a "default divorce". Such a divorce is generally granted upon the terms requested by the Petitioner (although the Respondent is given a certain time in which they can appeal).

At this point you should consult directly with a divorce attorney in your area. They can best advise you as to proceed.


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