What are my options for divorce options if I have had no contact with my spouse?

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What are my options for divorce options if I have had no contact with my spouse?

My husband and I have been separated for well over a year now. He has had minimal contact with our daughter and myself. He provides no support and I actually haven’t heard from him in the last 4 months at all. I need a divorce and I need him out of our lives. I have no number for him. The number I had was disconnected. I don’t know where he lives now and there has been no activity on social media. What are my options?

Asked on June 23, 2016 under Family Law, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The filing party (i.e. the "petitioner"), will need to file a "complaint". And as in any legal action, including divorce, any party to it must be notified by being "served" notice of the proceedings. This gives the non-filing party (i.e. the "respondent"), an opportunity to answer the complaint. In a case where on of the spouse's whereabouts are unknown, notice can be made by "publication". This means that the "petitioner" can put a notice in a newspaper in the area of the missing spouse's last known location. The court will instruct in what papers, etc. to do this. After that, if the petitioner still doesn't hear from the respondent, then they can proceed with their case and a "divorce by default" can be granted. Typically it's on the terms requested in the petiton. Normally, a person can file for their own divorce; most states have websites to walk them through the process. However, in the case of an absent spouse, you would be well-advised to seek legal counsel for further advice. 


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