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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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If I want to get a divorce, and 't know where my spouse is,

Customer Question

if I want to get a divorce, and don't know where my spouse is, do I need to publish something in the paper, and can I publish it in the paper of his last location known to me, we have been separated since 2007, and don't have a clue where he is
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your dilemma.

You're allowed to publish notice of the pending divorce in the local newspaper near where the courthouse is located. It doesn't have to be where you last knew your spouse, or the largest newspaper in the area, or anything like that. You do, however, need the judge's permission to serve your spouse by publication. And that means filing a motion explaining everything you've done to try to locate him. You have to make reasonable efforts to try to find him, even if you don't think it will help. Here are a few ways that you might do that:

  • Reach out to any mutual friends or any of his family members.
  • Search Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media accounts to see if you can find him.
  • Use Google to search for any mention of his name that might help you figure out what city/state he's in.
  • Send a letter to the last known address to see if it gets forwarded or returned.
  • Call/text the last known phone number. A lot of people keep the same cell phone number for years now. You can get copies of your old statements from your cell phone company to help you find the number if you don't have it.
  • Check the property records in the county where you used to live to see if he bought a house. If you can access the records online (which is possible in some states), check neighboring counties, too.
  • Contact his last known employer.

Once you've done some of those things, or made similar efforts, you can file the Petition for Divorce with a Motion for Service by Publication, and it will probably be approved. The judge will tell you which paper to run the notice in and for how long.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

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