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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7615
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My son was married 8 years ago and then separated 3 weeks later.

Resolved Question:

My son was married 8 years ago and then separated 3 weeks later. He filed for divorce on the grounds of her adultery but she never completed and signed her papers so the divorce was never completed. He now does not have contact details for his ex (or, rather, wife!) - is there a way to nullify the marriage without contacting her?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.



Are you certain she has received the divorce petition?


Has she stated why she is unwilling to respond?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Oh Yes - my son met with her to go through the wording of the petition. She was not happy when she received her papers to sign because she felt that she may be asked for money - which she did not want to happen. He paid the divorce fees and there was never any suggestion that he wanted money from her. I think it was just that there is always a clause about things possibly going to court and she was worried about that. He did not know that she had not completed the papers. It is only recently that he has discovered he is still married. He has been with a new partner for five years so this has come as a bit of a shock! He only found out when his wife contacted me to ask me for his contact details so she could send him divorce papers. I assumed that she meant something to do with the completed divorce and suggested that she forward them to me and I would pass them to him. She completely misunderstood my intentions and sent me an extremely vitriolic email accusing me of all kinds of things and also questioning my son's motives. She is a bit of a Jeckyll and Hyde character and rather unstable due to her drug use. I felt that it was safer for my son if she did not have his contact details (I didn't tell her that!) Anyway, my son then contacted the court where the divorce had been originally filed and obtained a reference number for the case so that a copy of the papers could be sent. To cut a very long story short, he then lost those details and I lost her contact details when I deactivated my Facebook account. I have since tried to contact her again but to no avail. It is all rather messy and difficult - especially as my son is also a 'recreational' drug user and consequently also has mental health problems. I just want to find a way of getting this part of his life sorted so I can help him move on to sort out the next bit (which will be the massive debt problems). I know that we could contact the court again - but I can't think of any way of getting the papers to her if I don't have her details.
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.


When was the petition actually sent to her?


Do you have a rough idea of where she actually is?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
They were married in Aug 2002 so it would have been sometime within the next 12 months.

As for where she is - not too sure. Last I knew she was at university studying for her masters - I think it was in Manchester. Sorry - not much help on that one!
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.



Ok. The court will only dispense with service in the most exceptional cases where it is practically impossible to serve the respondent and all other duties to trace them have been discharged. This is not the case here I'm afraid.


Firstly, I would give the country where the petition was issued to check that they still have it listed.


If you are satisfied that your informal attempts to trace her are not getting you anywhere then you may have to instruct an enquiry agent in order for them to trace here. You can google "enquiry agents" in the area where you suspect she may be. Chances are that they will be able to trace her.


Once you have an address or a place where you know she is likely to be you should then instruct a process server, although the tracing agency may be able to do this for you. You should say that you wish for them to effect personal service upon her. They will attend where they think she shall be and if there they will serve her the papers and then submit an affidavit to court confirming that she has received a copy of the petition/acknowledgement etc.

They divorce will then proceed on this basis, as this is evidence that she is aware of the divorce.


If this is useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. You will be free to ask follow up questions.

Kind regards,



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