What if my wife leaves the country prior to starting divorce proceedings? 6 Answers as of March 14, 2011

My wife is consistently threatening to end our marriage, leave me, and leave the United States. We have been married less than one year, we have no kids, no real estate, no joint loans, and no investments. We have a joint bank account with less than $500. I have a pre-existing personal savings account with about 40 k and a student loan of about 10 k. If she just leaves the country, what options do I have to dissolve the marriage quickly and with minimal financial loss without her physically being present?

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Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
You can serve her by publication, although it is very expensive. Just get her to sign a summary dissolution and neither have to go to court.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/14/2011
Diefer Law Group, P.C.
Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
If your spouse leaves the country and you are seeking a divorce, you can still move forward with an uncontested case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/11/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
I would suggest filing immediately and getting her served. Then she can go wherever she wants and it isn't your problem. Service can be possible if she moves so long as you know where she moved to. If you are looking for assistance with your family law marriage, I can help you. Please contact me for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/10/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
When a spouse threatens to leave the country, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage should be immediately filed and served on that spouse. Then it does not matter if that spouse leaves, as the court will then have jurisdiction to complete the divorce by default.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/10/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Why don't you file your divorce case and have your wife served before she leaves the country? From the facts that you presented, you most likely qualify for Summary Dissolution,the easiest type; if you don't qualify for Summary Dissolution, you would file a regular Dissolution of Marriage case.

You didn't say in your question whether your wife is from another country, or whether she would be returning to her country of origin, or whether she would be taking an extended vacation, or where she is going.

If she does leave and you can't find your wife, you or your attorney would need to hire a private investigator to try to locate her, and if unable to locate her, to prepare a Declaration of Due Diligence to supply to the Court with an Application for an Order to serve by Publication, and if such an Order is obtained, to publish the Summons in a Newspaper of General Circulation in order to accomplish Service by Publication, i.e., constructive service.

If your wife moves to another country before you are able to serve her, and you discover her whereabouts, you would have to determine whether that country is a member of the Hague Convention re Service of Process, and if so, you would need to comply with the requirements of the Convention. If the country is not a member of the Hague Convention, you would need to determine the process service laws and rules of that country and comply with them.

If your wife moves to another country, and cooperates with Notice and Acknowledgment service by returning to you a signed Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt (following proper service on her by mail, with the appropriate Proof of Service by Mail), you could serve her in that manner.

Once your wife is served, whether personally, by publication, or otherwise, you can proceed with your divorce case to Judgment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/10/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    If she leaves the country, and you want to file for divorce, you will not qualify for a "summary dissolution." Instead, you will have to seek a regular divorce, and also get a court order that will allow you to serve her "by publication." It is a somewhat technical process (although, not difficult for a lawyer). Thus, best to call a local family law lawyer to help you. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/10/2011
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