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How Do You File For Divorce When You Don’t Know Where Your Spouse Is?


Every now and then, when a spouse wants to divorce, they will be unable to find the other spouse. To remedy this problem, a spouse who wants to divorce must go through a very specific process.

How Do You File For Divorce When You Don’t Know Where Your Spouse Is? 

Each one of the steps below allows a spouse, who wishes to divorce but cannot find the other spouse, to file for divorce and, then, to obtain a divorce.

 Starting A Divorce By Publication 

To begin the divorce process, a spouse, who is looking for their missing spouse, must begin by starting the “divorce by publication” process.

A divorce by publication is a form of serving a spouse, with divorce, when the location of this other spouse is unknown. Many judges are reluctant to grant a divorce by publication. For this reason, in order for a divorce by publication to be granted, a spouse must conduct a diligent search for that spouse.

Right after a diligent search has been conducted, and the spouse is still yet to be found, a divorce by publication can take place. By using a divorce by publication, a spouse can be served publicly, allowing the divorce process to finally begin.

Conducting A Diligent Search 

To conduct a diligent search – and, in turn, to obtain either a divorce by publication or another form of divorce – a spouse must do everything in their power to find their missing spouse.

Some of the actions that comprise a diligent search are as follows:

  • Going through public tax records of the other spouse.
  • Speaking with the other spouse’s last known employer.
  • Going through the other spouse’s motor vehicle records.
  • Speaking with family members, friends, and acquaintances, regarding the other spouse’s whereabouts.
  • Going through the phone directories of the places where the other spouse might be living.
  • Using the Freedom of Information Act to find a forwarding address for the other spouse.

Each and every one of these actions comprises a diligent search. But, there are many other actions that also comprise a diligent search and, as such, these actions can also be used to demonstrate that a diligent search has occurred.

 Filing An Affidavit For The Diligent Search And Inquiry 

Right after a diligent search has been conducted, and the court is satisfied with the actions that comprised this diligent search, a spouse can file an Affidavit for the Diligent Search and Inquiry.

Soon after the affidavit has been filed, a spouse can then file a Notice of Action for Dissolution of Marriage. This document will be published in newspapers that publish legal advertisements. If the missing spouse doesn’t respond within 28-days, then a spouse can file a Motion for Default, allowing a divorce to be granted.

 Speak With A Tampa Divorce Lawyer 

Going through the divorce process is challenging on its own. But, when one spouse is missing, the process becomes much more complicated.

Speak with a Tampa divorce lawyer and we will assist you in conducting a diligent search and obtaining a divorce.






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