If you are married but have not seen “your wife” in years and have no way of reaching her, how can you get a divorce?

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2016

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If you are married but have not seen “your wife” in years and have no way of reaching her, how can you get a divorce?

Can I remarry?

Asked on January 14, 2016 under Family Law, New York


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

In a situation such as this, you can "serve" a divorce complaint via a notice "by publication".  This is a legal ool employed when a respondent-spouse (your wife) cannot be located by the petitioner-spouse (you). 
To obtain a divorce by publication, you will need to perform a thorough search for your missing wife in the same general location in which she was last known to reside. If your search fails to locate her, you an then apply to the court to issue an order of publication. When the judge signs off, a legal notice will be sent to the newspaper(s) named in the order for publication. In NY it must be published within 30 days after the judge signed the order and then must be published once a week for the next 3 consecutive weeks, each on the same day of the week.
If your spouse does not respond within the allowed timeframe, you can file the divorce by "default".  In approximately 2 to 4 months, you'll receive your final judgment.
What you need to do now is to consult directly with an attorney in your area. Until your divorce is final, you cannot legally re-marry.

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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