Can I divorce someone whom I have no contact with?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I divorce someone whom I have no contact with?

I am legally married to someone who I have not been in contact with for over 5 years. We were married in 2012, and split up about a year later. He was extremely physically and emotionally abusive, and had a lot of contact with police. I am terrified of him. When we finally split up, he did not tell me where he was going. I do not know where he lives or works. I am now dating someone else who I wish to marry in the future. Can I get a divorce without having any contact with him? And without knowing where he lives? Also, I live paycheck to paycheck and do not have money to hire a lawyer. Is there anyway to get assistance for free?

Asked on July 6, 2019 under Family Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court and also a court form for waiver of the court filing fee.
You can have your husband served by publication since you don't know his whereabouts. Service by publication is running notice of your dissolution of marriage in the legal notices section of a newspaper for the period of time required by the court. The court clerk can tell you the required period of time for service by publication. Service by publication is effective even if your husband never sees the notice in the newspaper. It may be expensive depending on how much the newspaper charges.

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 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.

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