How do I get divorced if I don’t know where my husband is?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do I get divorced if I don’t know where my husband is?

My estranged husband and I had started the process of filing for an uncontested divorce last year. We have not been together for more than 16 years. At his request he initiated the proceedings where he lived . I have been a resident of another state for 3 years. He left the country when facing deportation. I don’t know what to do now, because I don’t know where he is currently but I’m assuming he may be in Columbia his native country. I have been seeing someone for 4 years now and we would like to get married in about 8 or so months from now. However, we obviously can’t until I am divorced.

Asked on January 24, 2017 under Family Law, Texas


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Whenever there is a legal action, any person named in it must be given proper "notice". In a case such as this, it means that you will have to serve your husband to give him the chance to "answer" the complaint that you will file. In a situation where a spouse cannot be found, assuming all reasonable and diligent efforts have made to do so, they may be served notice via "publication". This means that you can ask the court to allow you put a notice in a newspaper in the area of your husband's last known location. After that, if he fails to respond, you can go ahead with the case and a "divorce by default" may be granted on the terms that you requested. At this point, you should speak directly to a divorce attorney in your area who can best advise you further.

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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