How can I divorce a convicted felon who has violated probation and has fled the country?

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2015

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How can I divorce a convicted felon who has violated probation and has fled the country?


Asked on August 3, 2015 under Family Law, Florida


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

In a situation such as this, your missing spouse must still be "served" with notice of the divorce action before it can proceed. This is accomplished by what is called a "divorce by publication". In most states, the filing spouse (the "petitioner") must make a diligent effort to find the missing spouse (the "respondent"). They will have to present proof to a court that they made every effort to search for them. At that point, the petitioner will be allowed to serve the repondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper that the judge instructs they use.

In most jurisdictions, the respondent has 20-60 days to file an answer after being "served" (i.e. the first day of publication). If they fail to do so within that time period, the petitioner can file a request to enter a "default dissolution" of the marriage (i.e. divorce). Typically it is granted upon the terms that the petitioner requests.

At this point you should consult directly with a local divorce attorney; they 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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