How do you get a divorce if you don’t know where your spouse is?

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How do you get a divorce if you don’t know where your spouse is?

I was married in 1986. We separated in 1989 because of domestic violence and a order of protection that I received from the courts. We have 1 son that is 34 now. We have nothing together. No property or anything. I have not been able to find him. He pretty much turned into a homeless person and I don’t know where he is. Can I file for divorce and get one with out him?

Asked on August 11, 2019 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

When a spouse cannot be located, there is a legal remedy oknown as "divorce by publication". This allows the filing spouse to give a missing spouse notice of the divorce prodeedings. The filing spouse (the "petitioner") must make a diligent effort to find their missing spouse (the "respondent"). The petitioner then has to present the court with proof that they made a genuine effort tried to locate the respondent. At that point, the petitioner is allowed to "serve" the respondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper (the judge will instruct which one). The respondent will then have about 30-60 days to file an "answer". If they fail to do so in the timeframe given, then the petitioner can ask the court if they can enter a "divorce by default". As a general rule, such a divorce is granted upon the terms requested. At this point, you can consult directly with a local divorce attorney who can best advise you further.

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

When a spouse cannot be located, there is a legal remedy oknown as "divorce by publication". This allows the filing spouse to give a missing spouse notice of the divorce prodeedings. The filing spouse (the "petitioner") must make a diligent effort to find their missing spouse (the "respondent"). The petitioner then has to present the court with proof that they made a genuine effort tried to locate the respondent. At that point, the petitioner is allowed to "serve" the respondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper (the judge will instruct which one). The respondent will then have about 30-60 days to file an "answer". If they fail to do so in the timeframe given, then the petitioner can ask the court if they can enter a "divorce by default". As a general rule, such a divorce is granted upon the terms requested. At this point, you can consult directly with a local divorce attorney who can best advise you further.


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