How Do You Get Divorced When You Don't Know Where Your Spouse Is

We’ve all heard the stories whether it's someone we know or something we’ve seen on tv or a movie, where a husband or wife goes out to the store for milk or cigarettes, and never comes back.  Now your situation may not be that cliche, but what happens when you are prepared to file for divorce but you don’t know where your spouse is.  On the bright side, not having anyone to oppose the divorce means its not contested so its easier on you.  The bad side is the court doesn't like when people get law suits (yes, divorce is a type of law suit) filed against them, and judgments against them when they don’t have notice of what’s going on.  Due process requires that a party to a lawsuit be notified that they are being sued, so they have an opportunity to defend themselves.  So now that we know why its important, lets figure our how to notify a missing spouse. 

The normal procedure in Connecticut requires the spouse filing for divorce to give the paperwork to a state marshal so the marshal can “serve” the divorce paperwork on the other spouse, giving them notice of the divorce. But that’s not so easy if you don’t know where your spouse is.  The court has made arrangements for this scenario.  The filing spouse can make a special request to the court for permission to notify the missing spouse by publishing the notice of the case in a local newspaper in the city where your spouse had the last known address.  But before the court will grant you permission it wants to make sure you are not pulling a fast one so you have to make some effort to locate your spouse and tell the court how you tried to locate them.  Usually that can be satisfied by contacting relatives or friends, current or previous employers, or using directory assistance (like 411, but today it would more likely be google or some other search engine.) So if you get permission from the court and have service done in this way, that will satisfy the due process requirement of notice and you will be able to proceed with your divorce. 

If you need help filing for divorce when your spouse is MIA then let us help.  At the Law Office of N. Gladstone Brown we are familiar with this scenario and can help you with this situation or any situation arising from your divorce.   Visit our website and give us a call so we can see how we can help you.