How do I get divorced if I have been estranged for twenty plus years? 34 Answers as of July 09, 2013

I have no idea where my husband is and our daughter is grown. I left him in 1986, because he continually beat me and I did not let anyone know where my daughter and I were. I would really like to remarry but it seems that filing for divorce is too restricting, given the circumstances.

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Not really, there is a means by which he can be served by publication.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/21/2013
The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook
The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook | Cathy R. Cook
You can file for divorce. Since you don't know where your husband is, the court would do service by publication. Once that service is complete, you can proceed with the divorce.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/20/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
A divorce may occur if you are unable to locate your spouse after a search, by seeking court permission to serve the divorce papers by alternative service. This usually means publishing a notice in a newspaper in the last known region where your spouse lived. A court will not allow such service unless it is confident that a search to locate the spouse has been performed.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 9/20/2011
Vermeulen Law office P.A.
Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
You may be able to serve your estranged husband by publication and obtain a divorce. Minnesota is a no fault state, so you do not have to prove anything other than the marriage is irreparably broken, which twenty years apart would seem to prove quite convincingly. You should speak with a family law attorney to get the process moving so that you can obtain a divorce.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 9/20/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
You have to be divorced to remarry; you can send out an order of notice as a way to notify him.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 9/20/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    You file for divorce. You have someone try to find him (you can do a postal search or use the internet). If you can't find him, you publish in the paper in his last known place of residence. Then he gets defaulted when he doesn't show up. There are some hoops to jump thru, it would be infinitely easier if you got an attorney to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    If you are in WI, you can file, and service will need to be attempted at his last known address -or actual address if you can easily locate him from a simple search. If not, the attempt is made, then publishing has to be done. Then you can proceed with the remainder of the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You likely can file by publication. See a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    You cannot remarry until you are divorced. You need to consult with a lawyer about filing for divorce and service by publication.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    In Washington, the duration of the separation really doesn't make much difference to the process. If you want to get divorced, then, you have to go through the process outline by statute and case law. It makes no difference if you have been separated two months or 25 years.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    You would have to file for divorce, and then make every attempt to locate him in order to get him served with the papers. Perhaps your daughter knows where he is at? Or one of his family members? If after exhausting every possible route you still cannot locate him, then and only then can you apply for personal service via publication. If he fails to respond, then you can proceed to the final hearing and get your divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    If you don't know where your husband is located, the court can give you permission to serve by alternate means (e.g. publication) if you can show that you've made diligent efforts to locate him. If you are only asking the court for a divorce (and not to make any division of assets/debts or for any spousal support), then this may be very straightforward. I encourage you to speak with an attorney to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Manhattan Family Law Attorney
    Manhattan Family Law Attorney | Paul W. Matthews
    You have to do a dilligent search for him then publish in a newspaper (Under NYS law). This might be expensive.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    The easiest way for you to divorce your husband would be to retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you. The attorney would have the resources and knowledge to get you the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    You can file for divorce but you would need to at least try and send notice to your husband. Many private investigators can perform a skip-trace for a small fee which may at least give you an address to send the summons to. Until you are formally divorced, your husband has certain rights to your estate (and vice versa) which you may want to sever completely.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    How so (divorce so restricted). There would appear to be nothing to prevent you from obtaining a divorce in the Commonwealth under the facts described, and even if you don't know where your spouse is currently located, you could still seek the court's permission to satisfy the notice requirement to him by publishing a notice of the divorce in a local newspaper.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    You may file for divorce regardless of whether or not you know where your husband is. You are entitled to a judgment changing your status from a court of law. You still have to sue your husband for divorce. Your attorney will have to file for the appointment of an attorney ad hoc , popularly called a "curator" to represent your husband. The curator will get information from you and file advertisements in newspapers where your husband was last known to have lived, and otherwise pursue finding him for purposes of service. After he has exhausted his efforts to find your husband, he will testify in court as to his efforts at your divorce hearing. This process will enable you to obtain a divorce from an absent defendant.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    George Pecherek & Associates, P.C.
    George Pecherek & Associates, P.C. | Andrew John Hawes
    You can get a divorce through publication. Additionally, if you retain an attorney, they can perform a "skip trace" which means they can search public records databases for any new addresses that he may have. Either way, you must serve your husband with notice of the divorce proceedings. It really would be best if you hired an attorney to help you with this matter. There are many potentially complicated issues that an attorney specializing in these fields could really help you with.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Until you get a divorce, you remain married. I urge you to hire a skilled private investigator to do a skip trace on trying to locate your estranged husband. If your husband is dead, by operation of law, your divorce ceases to exist. If the private investigator exercises due diligence and cannot find your ex, then you may qualify serving your petition for divorce by notice of publication.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    It is possible to give notice and get past that requirement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/9/2013
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You need to file a petition for dissolution of marriage in Washington and serve your husband "personally" or get permission to do it by another means
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    Unless he is dead, you must file for divorce before you marry again. If you know his full name, it probably won't be hard to have him served with copies of the pleadings.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    In Colorado the length of your separation doesn't make it any more difficult to get a divorce than if you were still living together. The only difference is that if you cannot locate him to serve the necessary papers, the court can authorize you to give him notice of the proceedings by publication in a local newspaper. That will permit the court to enter a divorce, but it won't be able to do anything about property or financial issues. If you have lived apart and with no contact for more than 20 years it seems unlikely there would be any property or financial issues that you would care about. But, you cannot legally remarry until you are divorced, so you need to start the process. You should consult an attorney for more detailed advice, even if you eventually decide to pursue things on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    If you can't locate your husband, then you can file for divorce, serve him by "publication," and then proceed by taking his "default," assuming he doesn't respond to the publication. This is a technical process. I suggest hiring a local family law lawyer for assistance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If you do not know where the other spouse resides, you need to file for divorce and obtain a court order to serve him by publication. This can be a complex issue so you might need the assistance of an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Offices of Thomas D. Nares
    Law Offices of Thomas D. Nares | Thomas D. Nares
    If you wish to remarry you need to file for divorce. Your husband will be served by publication. This is a pretty straight forward divorce in light of the length of you separation. It will proceed by default.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    Yes you can get divorced. All you need to do is have him served by publication. You need to file and have it publicized in the local newspaper pursuant to the domestic relations rules for service by publication and you will be able to get divorced in Massachusetts.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Offices of Marshall R. Hoekel, LLC | Marshall Hoekel
    You can file for divorce and either find him or obtain the divorce without him if you publish service in a certain way.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO | Ryan J. Lewis
    You can file the complaint, and have him served by publication.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    As you may know, in order to get a divorce, NJ requires that the defendant be personally served. If you do not know where your spouse is, the court rules outlines a process for alternate service. As the process requires some deliberate effort, you may want to consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/19/2011
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