How do you get divorced when you have no idea where your spouse is and cannot contact him? Has he skipped town, go into hiding or just plain fallen off the face of the planet? Not to worry, you don’t need him to get a divorce.
While it may be require some additional steps, it can still be done:
1. The first step is to attempt to serve your spouse with a divorce Summons and Complaint, thereby initiating the action and providing notice, at his or her last known address(es).
2. Send a letter to all branches of the Armed Forces, Election Boards, Department of Motor Vehicles and Post Offices where your spouse was last known to reside. These letters may require a small fee, generally ranging from $3 to $5 each.
3. Search the internet in an effort to locate your missing spouse.
4. If you receive no response and still have no information as to your spouse’s whereabouts, your attorney will need to prepare an Order for Publication for the court, which should be submitted to the courthouse’s ex parte office for a judge’s review and signature.
5. The Order should include documentary proof of your search attempts, an affidavit signed by you wherein you explain why you cannot locate your spouse, and an affirmation signed by your attorney. The Order should also include the name of a local newspaper where your Summons for Divorce can be published for notice.
6. Once the judge signs the Order, the Summons for Divorce will be submitted to the local newspaper for publication as directed by the court, typically for three consecutive days.
7. Following publication, the newspaper will provide you with an affidavit attesting to its publication of your Summons for Divorce. You can then file uncontested divorce papers with the court and proceed with the divorce.