What to do if I want to get a divorce but do not know what to file and how to begin?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if I want to get a divorce but do not know what to file and how to begin?

I got married 7 years ago. I was separated but not legally shortly after due to domestic violence. A few months later my “husband” was incarcerated for domestic violence not from me but a new girlfriend, he had a lengthy sentence. I have been residing in another stae since with no contact from my husband. I do not know where he is. We do have 2 girls together, who we had prior to getting married. What forms should I file? I cannot serve him because I do not know where or in which state he lives in? How long will it take or can a judge just grant me a divorce?

Asked on September 25, 2012 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You will need to file a petition for dissolution of marriage which is a packet of forms you can obtain from the court.  Ask the court clerk if any additional forms are required as the requirements may vary from state to state.

Since you don't know your husband's whereabouts, he can be served by publication.  Service by publication means running a notice of your petition for dissolution of marriage in the legal notices section of a newspaper for a required period of time.  The period of time that the notice has to run in the legal notices section of a newspaper to constitute valid service by publication varies from state to state.  Your court clerk can tell you how long the notice has to run to be effective service by publication.  Service by publication is effective even if your ex-husband never sees the notice in the newspaper.

As for how long the entire process takes, this depends on your particular court and also how long the notice has to run in the newspaper to be effective service by publication.  You will have to comply with all the procedural requirements to obtain your divorce.  The court won't grant your divorce if you don't comply with all the procedural requirements.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption