How To File For Divorce If You Cannot Locate Your Spouse
In addition to the hoards of typical regular divorce lawsuits, there are also certain unique cases wherein an individual wants to file for a divorce but is unable to determine the whereabouts of their spouse. If you are in a somewhat similar situation wherein you are unable to locate your partner to inform him of your intent, you might be the right candidate for a ‘divorce by publication’. Although, the various states have separate laws that govern the divorce proceedings in such cases, the basic criteria for filing for a divorce under this category requires the couple to have been living apart for a specific period of time, and that a spouse cannot be located even after sincere efforts from other party.
How the actual process works?
The initial approach to initiate the divorce action from your side requires your divorce lawyer to serve the absconding partner with the action petition at his last recorded address. However, if in case all your diligent efforts of tracking down your spouse have gone in vain, you can request the court of law to issue an Order of Notice by Publication. The order implies that you are required to now publish a notification stating your intent to divorce your partner in a local newspaper of the area where he or she was last located.
More often than not, an individual is required to run the legal advertisement in the newspaper for a period of three weeks, during which the other spouse is granted adequate time to respond to the notice.
What happens if your spouse does not respond to the published notice?
In the event that, you spouse fails to show up and respond to your legal notice, you have the right to go ahead with the lawsuit and finalize the divorce ‘by default’. The Californian laws allow an individual to be granted a divorce even if the other partner is absent from the court for the entire duration of the litigation. However, for a judge to announce a final favorable verdict for your divorce lawsuit, he needs to be satisfied with your efforts of trying to inform your spouse of your intent to divorce him or her. For this, you would be required to furnish in the court of law, a marshal service affidavit which will attest to the legal notice being published in the local area newspaper, and also a copy of the actual published notice.
If you are in one such complex situation wherein your spouse is M.I.A, you can consult a professional attorney or divorce lawyer to assist you with the litigation proceedings and offer you his sound advice relevant to the case.
Getting divorced in California can be complicated. Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.
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