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How to Divorce Someone You Haven’t Seen in Years

Published on September 26th, 2022

Man sitting on couch looking at smart phone and looking concerned.

It’s not always easy carrying out a divorce, especially if you haven’t seen your spouse in years.  Your spouse might have moved away without a forwarding address. Or maybe they’ve disappeared off the face of the earth entirely.

So how can you go through with the divorce if you can’t serve your spouse divorce papers? In this blog post, we will explore some of your options and help you figure out how to get divorced even if you can’t find your spouse.

Attempt to Locate Your Spouse

Divorcing something you haven’t seen in years can be complicated, but it is possible to get a divorce without ever seeing or even speaking to your spouse again. Here’s what you need to know.

The first step is to attempt to locate your spouse. If you don’t know where they are, you can start by checking with the last known address, employer, or family and friends. Once you have a general idea of where your spouse might be, you may consider searching online public records or hiring a private investigator.

Even if you don’t end up finding your spouse, it’s important to keep track of the attempts you’re making to find them. These actions will show you made a good faith effort to find your spouse, making you eligible for alternative methods of divorce, such as divorce by publication.

File for a Divorce by Publication

If you cannot find your spouse after making a good-faith effort, you can usually file for a divorce with notice by publication. Doing this means you will need to publish a notice of the divorce proceedings in a newspaper or public place.

Someone must then serve your spouse with the notice by having it hand-delivered to them or mailing it to their last known address. Then, if your spouse does not respond to the notice, the court can grant you a divorce by default.

Of course, the details of this process will vary from state to state. In addition, you’ll need to meet specific requirements before you can file for a divorce by publication. For example, you may need to show evidence that you’ve made a good-faith effort to contact your spouse or that their whereabouts are unknown.

You should also be prepared to pay the publication fee and any other fees required by the court.

Get Help from The Crosby Law Firm

If you’re considering a divorce but can’t find your spouse, it’s vital to seek advice from an experienced attorney. At The Crosby Law Firm, our experienced divorce lawyers in Rockford, IL can help you navigate the divorce process and ensure the proper document filings.

Call us today at 815-397-2007 to schedule a free consultation.

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