How do I file for divorce if I don't know my spouse's address? 23 Answers as of July 03, 2013

I think my ex now lives somewhere out of state. How do I file for divorce if I do not know her address?

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Law Office of James Bordonaro
Law Office of James Bordonaro | James Albert Bordonaro
You can hire a private investigator to locate him or have him served by "publication" which is listing the case in a newspaper for a couple of weeks.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 11/14/2011
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
There are several ways of alternate process service.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/3/2013
AyerHoffman, LLP
AyerHoffman, LLP | Cara Lee Thompson
First you will want to ensure that the state in which you currently reside has jurisdiction over your divorce (subject matter jurisdiction), and also jurisdiction over your spouse (personal jurisdiction). If both are satisfied, and you don't know your spouse's home address (even through, perhaps, the help of an agency that investigates matters such as yours), then you could attempt to serve your spouse in-hand at work, if that address is known. If neither address is known, and you have made good faith attempts at service, then you can try to serve via publication in the newspaper local to your spouse. You will need to check your state's statute to determine if this option is applicable, and the specifics of the publication requirements.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 11/10/2011
Ruiz Law Group, P.C.
Ruiz Law Group, P.C. | Frances Ruiz
The attorney should be able to request for an alternate method of service maybe by publication.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/10/2011
The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
Your attorney will serve by publication upon being given permission by court.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 11/10/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You may possibly be able to file by publication. Discuss this with your lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    It is obviously much easier to know the last known address of your spouse, especially if it is in Nevada. Provided you know the last known address, you can file a divorce by publication after diligent efforts have been made to find her. Divorce by publication is not the easiest process. I would recommend hiring counsel. However, if you cannot afford counsel, the Family Court offers a Self-Help Center that can assist you with the forms. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You file just as you would if you knew where is. The difference is in how you provide him the required notice of your case. If you have made a diligent effort to locate him without success, the court can authorize notice by publication in a local newspaper.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    You need to make a good faith attempt to locate her using every available means. If that fails, then you can do service via publication.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Law Office of Jane E. Ginsburg
    Law Office of Jane E. Ginsburg | Jane Ginsburg
    There are very specific legal requirements for serving documents related to a divorce. There are provisions for service by publication as a last resort as set out in the Code of Civil Procedure section 415.50. The information above is intended to provide only general information. It should not be considered specific legal advice nor does it establish any type of attorney-client relationship between the author of the response and the person asking the question.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If you do not know where the other party lives, you can ask for a court order to serve them by publication.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You may commence a divorce by serving and filing a Summons and Petition for Divorce setting out the facts and the relief you are requesting in the divorce proceeding. Your spouse, the respondent, has thirty (30) days to file a response to that Petition indicating to the Court where they disagree. If they fail to file a timely response, you may file for a default judgment seeking an order based on your Petition. If your spouse responds to the Petition, the matter can be ended at any time when an agreement is reached, or, if it cannot be reached, in a trial of the issues. If you do not know where your spouse resides, you may file a motion to seek an order allowing service by substitute means. That generally means showing proof that you actively searched for your spouse and were unable to locate them.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    In order to file for divorce against an absent spouse, you must file your petition for divorce and include a request for a "curator" or "attorney ad hoc" to be appointed for your spouse. This person is a lawyer, appointed by the court, to exercise "due diligence" in locating your spouse for purposes of serving them with the lawsuit, or giving them a notice and opportunity to defend. The curator will ask you for any previous contact information you have, such as last known address, phone number, contacts for relatives and friends, etc. The curator will then search for your ex through filing an ad in the newspaper, internet searches, etc. If your spouse is never found, service upon the curator will be sufficient for you to obtain a judgment of divorce. If your spouse is found and notified, the curator will report those circumstances to the court, and you will still obtain your divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    You can advertise in the paper for residence unknown. This will get a divorce for you but you can't adjudicate any alimony.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Pretty much the same way you would file if you did know your spouse's address, except with a few extra hoops to jump through. Those extra hoops involve making a good faith effort to try to locate the missing spouse. You have to have evidence that he or she has really disappeared and cannot be found. If the court is convinced of that, it will then give you permission to serve by publication.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Filing isn't a problem, service is. You'll need to serve by mail/publication and that requires permission from the court. It may be easier to hire a service to find her. Many can do so for around a hundred bucks.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Clement Law
    Clement Law | Daniel E. Clement
    In order to file for divorce, your spouse has to be served with the summons. If you don't know where your spouse lives or works, you will have to obtain an order to make service by some other means, generally by publication.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    If you are unable to locate your spouse after diligent efforts, the court can allow you to make some type of "alternate" service so the divorce can proceed. This may result in some limitations as to what the divorce orders can include, so I recommend you speak with an attorney to discuss this issue in greater detail.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Hire a process server or private investigator to do a skip trace to locate her. If she cannot be found after due diligence, the court may allow you to serve her by notice of publication.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    You don't need to know your husband's whereabouts to "file" the divorce papers with the court. However, you will need to put in a good faith effort to learn his address so you can have him served, either personally, or by mail if he agrees to accept by mail. If you can't find out his address after a diligent search, then you will need to get an order from the court granting permission to serve him by publication. That is a somewhat technical process. Thus, best to seek assistance from a local family law lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    By using an attorney or some other individual who can locate and serve her.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/9/2011
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