How to divorce a spouse that you can't find

Missing spouse: What to do when you can’t find your spouse and you want a divorce
by New York Divorce Attorney¬† You must serve your spouse the divorce papers so if you can’t find him or her, that is a problem that requires judicial intervention. You will have to ask the court’s permission to allow you to serve your spouse by publication. That means you are going to run an ad in the newspaper. The court will only allow you to do that after you have shown due diligence in finding your spouse and all indications remain that your spouse has disappeared. You will have to write to all branches of the armed forces, for example, to search for your spouse. You will have to provide affidavits from each branch saying your spouse is not in service. It is a bit of a hassle but you¬† have to do it; you will also need affidavits from family and friends and employers saying they have not seen your spouse since when? And a few other acts of diligence: searching the phone book, maybe even an Internet search. Once you have satisfied the court that you made every effort to locate your spouse, the court will likely allow you to run the notice in the newspaper. About 30 days after the ad is run and you have an affidavit of publication from the paper, you can submit your divorce packet to the court and you will more than likely obtain a divorce ex parte.
Originally published 2/2009 last updated August/2014