Your spouse wasn’t exactly “present” in your marriage for a long time, but now that you want a divorce, they’ve gone missing in action. You have no idea where they may be living, and calls to friends and family members have turned up no leads.
Does that mean you’re stuck in your marriage forever? Not at all. Here’s what you should know:
You spouse can’t stop the divorce by hiding
You can’t get the divorce process started until you serve your spouse with a copy of your petition — and you can’t do that when they’ve skipped town, dropped out of sight or otherwise ghosted you.
You can, however, work around the issue. First, you need to show that you have done your due diligence in trying to find them. That means:
- Documenting attempts to serve them at their last known residence
- Trying to reach them through their last known employer
- Keeping a record of your attempts to locate them through family and friends
- Using social media to see if you can get them to respond to you
If you’ve done all that (and more), what’s next? You can serve your petition by either publication or posting.
Service by publication is the most common. To effectively do this, you must publish your documents in a generally circulated newspaper in your area at least once per week for a minimum of four consecutive weeks. An alternative is service by posting, which allows the documents to be published in a visible spot designated for such notices at the local courthouse.
The divorce process can be full of twists and turns, so don’t get discouraged. A brighter future lies ahead.