What are my options when I can’t find my spouse?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my options when I can’t find my spouse?

My wife left me 6 years ago when I lived in California. I currently live in Colorado
and I am trying to get a divorce. I have been unable to find her anywhere, after a
thorough search online using her SSN or Alien Registration . She is originally
from China, but I doubt she is there. She left me as soon as her ‘green card’
arrived. Any thoughts on how I can get a divorce?

Asked on October 3, 2016 under Family Law, Colorado


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As with any legal action, you will have to "serve" your spouse with notice of the divorce in order to give her an opportunity to answer the complaint. In a case such in which a spouse cannot be found, you can give your wife notice via "publication". This means that you can put a notice in a newspaper in the area of her last known whereabouts. The court will instruct in what newspapers to do this. After that, if you still don't hear from her, then you can proceed with the case and a "divorce by default" can be granted.
Generally speaking, a person can file for their own divorce and most states have websites to guide them through the process. However, your situation is a bit different and if you can, it is advised that you seek legal counsel.

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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