What can I do if my husband and I have been separated for 5 years and now want to file for divorce but I don’t where he lives?

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What can I do if my husband and I have been separated for 5 years and now want to file for divorce but I don’t where he lives?

How to file a divorce without his address?

Asked on June 26, 2019 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

In such a situation such as there is a legal remedy known as "divorce by publication". This allows a spouse to be served "notice" of the divorce. The fact is that legal action can't be not taken against a person without giving them an opportunity to appear and explain their side. The filing spouse "petitioner") must make a good faith effort to find their missing spouse ("respondent"). They have to present proof to a court that they made a genuine search to uncover their missing spouse's whereabouts. At that point, the petitioner will be allowed to serve the repondent by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper, instead of the more typical method of personal service. The court will instruct as to which newspaper should be used (it will be in one that is in the area of the respndent's last known address). Typically, the respondent has 30-60 days to file an answer. If they fail to do so within that time, the petitioner can then file a request to enter a "default divorce". As a general rule, it is granted upon the terms requested by the petitioner (although the respondent is given a certain time in which they can appeal).

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You can have a process server do a skip trace to locate your husband.
If that is unsuccessful, you can file for divorce and have your husband served by publication which is running a legal notice in a newspaper of your petition for dissolution of marriage. The notice runs for a set period of time which varies from state to state. Ask the court clerk for the required length of time the notice has to run in the newspaper for service by publication.
Service by publication is effective even if your husband doesn't see the notice in the newspaper.


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