Can someone get a divorce without letting their spouse know?

UPDATED: Oct 11, 2011

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Can someone get a divorce without letting their spouse know?

My husband recently kicked me out of our home without reason and according to his on-line social networking site, he has filed for divorce. I’ve heard nothing since then. It’s been 3 weeks since he has even talked to me. Is it possible that the marriage is already dissolved without me knowing?

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Family Law, California


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is something known as a "divorce buy publication".  In such a divorce, if the spouse that wants a divorce cannot locate the other spouse they can publish notice of the divorce proceedings in a newspaper near to the missing spouse's last known address. If the missing spouse fails to answer the divorce complaint, then a court will grant a divorce to the spouse who requested it.

However, this divorce is only available if the other spouse cannot be found after a good faith search has been made. Based on the facts that you presented, this does not appear to apply to your case. Your husband seems to be able to reach you. Therefore, either you are still married or your husband lied to the court to obtain a divorce by publication.

At this point, you should consult with a divorce attorney on your area.

Note:  Your husband cannot just kick you out of the house. Until there is a final divorce decree, separation or court order covering your living situation, you have just as many rights to the marital home as he does (regardless of whose name the deed or lease is in).

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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