What If I Can't Find My Spouse During Divorce Proceedings?

January 6, 2023

Deciding to file for divorce is hard enough. But what if you have finally made up your mind to divorce your spouse and cannot find them? Traditionally, you must initiate your divorce by having your lawyer serve your spouse with the divorce papers at their last known location. However, if after you have taken all reasonable measures to locate your spouse to no avail, you can request the court for a divorce by publication.

How Divorce by Publication Works

If you can’t locate your spouse and serve the divorce papers, you can request the court to allow you to serve the papers by publication or by posting. With service by publication, you must publish your notice of the divorce in a popular newspaper where your spouse will most likely see it. Your notice must be published for four consecutive weeks, at least once weekly.

With service by posting, a court clerk or your process server must post the notice of the divorce in a visible place at the courthouse. To support your request to send a divorce notice by posting or publication, you are legally required to show proof that you attempted to locate your spouse and did everything you could possibly do to do so.

You Must Take Reasonable Steps to Locate Your Spouse

Here are some things to consider when trying to find your spouse:

It is crucial to note that there may be other things you can do to find your spouse. Regardless of the steps you take, make sure to document all your efforts and keep clear records of everything you did to find your spouse.

If the court has approved your service by posting or publication and your spouse still can’t be located, you can request the court for a divorce by default. Essentially, you will be requesting the court to make decisions about child custody and support, property division, alimony, and other divorce issues.

Reach Out to a Skilled Ventura Divorce Attorney Today

If you’re considering filing for divorce and you can’t find your spouse, contact the Ventura divorce attorney at Bamieh & De Smeth right away. You can set up your free case consultation by sending us an online message or calling 805-643-5555.