How to file for divorce if your spouse lives in another state?

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How to file for divorce if your spouse lives in another state?

I was told by a family friends that my wife is living in a hotel in TX. How am I to file from PA for a divorce with her?

Asked on February 26, 2018 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

As long as she is at the hotel, then you can legally serve her. However, if you cannot now loctae her at all, you can still "serve" your wife with divorce papers. By way of background, before legal action can be taken against someone they must be given an opportunity to appear and explain their side. This is called "notice". When a spouse cannot be located, then there is a legal remedy known as "divorce by publication".The filing spouse (i.e. the "petitioner") must first make a good faith effort to find their missing spouse (i.e. the "respondent"). The Petitioner has to present proof to the court that they made genuine efforts to uncover their spouse's whereabouts. At that point the Petitioner will be allowed to "serve" the Respondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper (usually one that is in the area of the Respondent's last known location; the judge will instruct you on this). The Respondent then will then typically have 30-60 days to file their "answer". If they fail to do so, the Petitioner can request to enter a "default divorce". As a general rule, such a divorce is granted upon the terms requested (although the Respondent is given a certain period of time in which they can appeal). At this point, you should consult directly with a local divorce attorney as they can best advise you as to proceed under specific state law.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

As long as she is at the hotel, then you can legally serve her. However, if you cannot now loctae her at all, you can still "serve" your wife with divorce papers. By way of background, before legal action can be taken against someone they must be given an opportunity to appear and explain their side. This is called "notice". When a spouse cannot be located, then there is a legal remedy known as "divorce by publication". The filing spouse (i.e. the "petitioner") must first make a good faith effort to find their missing spouse (i.e. the "respondent"). The Petitioner has to present proof to the court that they made genuine efforts to uncover their spouse's whereabouts. At that point the Petitioner will be allowed to "serve" the Respondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper (usually one that is in the area of the Respondent's last known location; the judge will instruct you on this). The Respondent then will then typically have 30-60 days to file their "answer". If they fail to do so, the Petitioner can request to enter a "default divorce". As a general rule, such a divorce is granted upon the terms requested (although the Respondent is given a certain period of time in which they can appeal). At this point, you should consult directly with a local divorce attorney as they can best advise you as to proceed under specific state law.


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.

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