UK Family Law
UK Family Law Questions Answered by Verified Experts
Thanks for your question.
Although in some circumstances the Judge acting in a divorce can dispense with service, it is pretty rare in that it is the last resort and will ask that you make all appropriate investigations in to establishing his whereabouts so that he can be served with the divorce petition, acknowledge it and engage in the process.
If you have exhausted the informal means (ie. friends, relatives) then you should consider instructing a tracing agent to act on your behalf. You will have to pay for this and I would get a quote up front or set the terms of information about their charges clearly. They will search for your husband themselves, a google search for "tracing agents" will illicit a number of results.
In the event that the above unsuccessful then you can ask the Court to request a search of his addresses in the DWP or Passport Service's records.
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The Judge will ask that you make all reasonable enquiries, if you suspect he has returned home you will probably be asked to investigate by using an appropriate agent in Greece to see if he is there.
Given the length of time you have been separated it's possible the Judge could order to dispense with service but to do this you must convince them that it is impractical/impossible to serve the petition on him. For this you would have to make an application without notice to the Court supported by an affidavit setting out why there is a problem and what you have done to trace the respondent. You would probably need assistance from a solicitor for this.
You can check to see if you are eligible for legal aid here:-
It's unlikely to cost that much more in Greece than it is in England, but the Judge is likely to view that as a reasonable expense I'm afraid. They are very reluctant to divorce without the respondent being served the papers because divorce is obviously a fairly fundamental change in one's status (albeit that you have been effectively separated for a very long time.
They will do it, but only in fairly exceptional circumstances which yours probably would be if you cannot trace him in Greece, but an attempt should probably be made to do so.
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