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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7602
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I seperated from my Husband (who I married in April 2008) in

Resolved Question:

I seperated from my Husband (who I married in April 2008) in September 2008, due to his violent and unreasonavle behaviour. I had to take an injunction out against him to protect myself and also a prohibited steps order, which stipulates that he cannot remove our daughter from my care without my prior written consent (this has no end date so is still in force) for her protection.
Since September 2008 neither myself of my daughter have seen him and the only contact that has been made was through a solicitor. He had a letter sent to me asking for access to our daughter and also asking if I had started a divorce, I replied to this saying that I refuse to let him see our daughter as he poses to much of a threat to her safety and informed him that I had not started a divorce process as I do not know where he is. I was later sent a letter from his solicitor stating that they have not heard anything further from him dispite sevreal letters being sent to him with my response.
I am desperate to get a divorce from him but as I do not know where he lives and had no replies to his solicitor I am unsure how to do this. I have heard that there is a period of time that you can divorce a spouse without their knowledge if you do not know where they are, am I eligable for this? If not then what would be my best option?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.



Thanks for your questions.


A person can divorce their spouse on the basis of a 5 year separation without their consent, but that person would still be required to have the divorce petition served upon them. Obviously you do not qualify under this ground for divorce yet so you would either have to rely on divorce based upon his unreasonable behaviour (which should not be to difficult given his previous conduct you refer to) or on the basis of a 2 year separation but you would need his consent to this. If he has been adulterous then you could also divorce on this ground.


You should request an address for service from the solicitors. If they do not have this then you may have to instruct a tracing agency on your behalf to trace an address for him


In terms of serving the divorce papers upon him the court would initially send the petition to the address you list, if he does not acknowledge receipt then you can either instruct the Court bailiffs to attend the address you have for him (ie. that which the previous solicitor used) or instruct a private enquiry agent/process server to do this for you. The court bailiffs would simply attend and see if he was there, a private process server would wait until he attends.


If you google "process servers" and your locality you will get a list of persons you can instruct.

Once they have served it upon him they will swear an affidavit of service and submit this to court as proof he has received the petition. The divorce can then proceed.


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Kind regards,


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