How do I file for divorce if I cannot get in contact with my husband and I am living in a different state?

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How do I file for divorce if I cannot get in contact with my husband and I am living in a different state?

I want to get a divorce. My husband and I got married in the state of VA in 04/06. We separated about 3 months later and have not lived together since. I haven’t had contact with him in over 2 years and I am now living in OH. I believe he still resides in VA but I am unsure.

Asked on November 19, 2010 under Family Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, as long as you meet the residency requirements of OH, you can file for divorce there(typically in most states obtaining legal residence takes 6 months).  Additionally, in a situation where the "petitioner" (the spouse filing for divorce) cannot locate the" respondent" (the non-filing spouse), the petitioner can get what is known as a "divorce by default". 

You'll have to have your divorce papers filed with the court.  At that point a citation (or the like) will be issued and your husband will need to be served.  In this case, you can "serve" the divorce complaint via a something known as "notice by publication".  This is used when a respondent cannot be located by the petitioner. 

Accordingly, the respondent is notified of the divorce proceedings by publishing notice in a local paper in the area of their last known address.  After a specified time period (typically 30 days or so), if your spouse does not answer and defaults, you will then file your final paperwork and appear before the judge (usually in 60 days).  As a general rule, a divorce is then granted on the terms that you requested.


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