Can’t Locate Spouse for Divorce?
No two divorces ever proceed in exactly the same manner, and sometimes, couples have been apart a considerable amount of time before one of them decides to move forward with the divorce process. If it’s time for you to file for divorce, but you can’t even locate your spouse, it can make an already complicated legal matter seem even more complex. An experienced Forsyth County divorce attorney, however, can help.
Divorce by Publication
If your spouse has disappeared – or is actively hiding from you – it makes serving him or her with your divorce filing next to impossible. The court’s remedy for this situation is to grant a divorce by publication, but the burden is on you as the serving spouse to convince the court – via sworn declaration – that you used due diligence in your good-faith efforts to serve your spouse.
Due Diligence and Your Search
The judge in your case will need to establish that your efforts to locate your spouse were genuine and diligent. As such, you will need to exhaust all of the following search attempts:
- Checking telephone directories and online locators for the area in which you live and the area(s) in which you think your spouse might live (or in which he or she is last known to have lived)
- Enquiring whether any friends or relatives of your spouse have any information about his or her whereabouts
- Checking with the post office regarding any forwarding addresses connected to your absent spouse
- Contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles to ascertain if any vehicles are registered in your spouse’s name
- Researching tax records regarding recent payments or refunds in your missing spouse’s name
- Consulting with the property assessor to inquire about any property ownership in your spouse’s name
The court will want to ensure that you’ve exhausted every reasonable avenue for locating your absent spouse, and depending upon your exact situation, there may be viable options other than those listed here.
Your Divorce by Publication
If you’ve completed your search and are no closer to finding your spouse, you’ll need to submit a notarized Affidavit of Diligent Search to the court. If the court is satisfied with your efforts, it will allow you to move forward by publishing a Notice of Publication – four times and seven days apart – within the following 60 days (generally within the county filed). If your spouse fails to respond within one week of your final publication, the court will consider your legal action uncontested.
It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Cumming Divorce Attorney
If you are ready to move forward with a divorce and your spouse is nowhere to be found, the divorce attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland in both Forsyth County and Cumming understand the seriousness of the situation and are well versed in successfully handling its inherent complications. To learn more, please don’t hesitate tocontact us online or call us at 770-887-1209 for more information today.