How to divorce a missing spouse in the usa

By Beverly Bird

Although it’s possible to divorce a missing spouse, technology and the Internet might make it possible to avoid resorting to this procedure. Generally, courts will not give you the go-ahead to divorce without your spouse’s participation until you’ve exhausted every effort to locate him. In the process, you might get lucky and track him down. This is usually preferable, because in many states, limitations exist to such divorces.

Motion for Alternate Service

Laws in every state require that you notify your spouse that you’re divorcing him. He has the right to contest the action and to defend his interests. This is “service” of your divorce petition, and normally, you could arrange to have someone hand-deliver your papers to him, such as the county sheriff or a private process server. If you don’t know where he is, this option isn’t available to you. You must therefore ask the court to approve an alternate means of service instead. In most states, this involves posting a legal notice in the newspaper. However, you can’t just go to your local newspaper and take out a legal ad to let your spouse know what you’re doing. You need permission from the court first. In most states, you accomplish this by filing a special motion, explaining that you can’t find your spouse and asking to use an alternate means of service.

The court won’t grant your motion unless you can prove you conducted a diligent search for your spouse. If you have access to the Internet, check the Social Security Death Index first. Make sure he’s still alive, so you’re not going through a lot of effort for nothing. Check social networking websites as well. He might be keeping in touch with friends through such sites. Several websites exist that will search public records for you, looking for some trace of your spouse, for a nominal fee. They’ll give you a list of his last known addresses. Unless your spouse doesn’t want to be found, one of these methods might very well turn up some trace of him, then you’ll know where to serve him with your divorce papers. Otherwise, print out the results of your searches and attach them to your motion, showing what you’ve done to find him. Some courts might require you to go further and contact old friends, relatives or employers to ascertain if they know where he is.

Notification by Newspaper

If the court approves your motion for alternate service, the judge will issue an order stating that you have the right to serve your spouse by publication. You can take this order to the newspaper and arrange to run your legal notice. The order should contain specific directions regarding how many times you have to publish your notice, but it’s usually about once a week for several weeks. The staff at most newspapers have considerable experience with these sorts of legal advertisements, and they can assist you.

Divorce by Default

After your divorce notice has run the required number of times, the newspaper will give you an affidavit or statement, confirming this. Take your notice back to the courthouse and file it with the clerk. After you’ve done this, most states require that you wait a statutory period of time, during which your spouse can respond to the notice and file an answer to your divorce petition with the court. When this time period expires, and if your spouse does nothing, you can ask the court to grant your divorce by default. This usually involves a brief hearing before a judge so he can confirm the details of your case. He’ll grant you a divorce, but depending on the laws in your state, he may not be able to do much more than that. If you have children, he’ll grant you custody, because he can’t give custody to an absent parent. However, many jurisdictions prevent judges from awarding child support or dividing marital property if your spouse hasn’t participated in the divorce.

  • Jeffrey B. Peltz: I Want a Divorce, But I Don’t Know Where My Spouse Is
  • MyFamilyLaw.com: How Do I File For Divorce if My Spouse is Missing?
  • YourFamily.com: Tips For Finding Missing People
  • Law Firm Newswire: Orange County Divorce Proceedings Can Go On Even With a Missing Spouse
  • DivorceInfo: When You Can’t Find Your Spouse

Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling “Comes the Rain” and “With Every Breath.” Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.

A divorce usually starts with the filing of a divorce complaint or petition for divorce. Once the complaint is filed by one spouse, the other spouse must be notified of the action. That notification is called “service of process,” or simply “service.”

Each state has its own rules regarding service, and most offer a number of options for serving the complaint. For example, service may be done in person by having a process server hand the other spouse a copy of the divorce complaint. You can also serve a complaint by certified mail or regular mail. Problems arise when one spouse cannot be located, which usually only happens when the parties have been separated for a long time and don’t have financial ties to each other or children together that require them to stay in touch.

In situations where a spouse is missing, state court rules usually provide an alternative service method after the spouse petitioning for divorce has exhausted all reasonable attempts to find the other spouse.

Step #1: Try to find the missing spouse

Before a judge will allow you to use alternative methods of notification, you must exhaust your options for finding the missing spouse — a process known legally as “due diligence” or “diligent effort.” Reasonable steps include:

  • Contacting the spouse’s relatives, friends, former employers and former landlords
  • Searching on Internet social networks
  • Checking with government organizations like the post office, voter registration and department of motor vehicles
  • Trying to contact them via last known email addresses and phone numbers

You can hire a lawyer or private investigator to complete the due diligence process for you, you don’t have to do it personally.

Step #2: Ask the court to allow service by publication

After you’ve completed step #1, present your findings to the court and ask for permission to serve your spouse by publication. You may be required to present a sworn statement, called an affidavit, showing the steps you’ve taken to locate your missing spouse. A divorce cannot move forward unless there is a satisfactory showing that all possible steps have been taken to find the spouse. If the judge approves your due diligence, he will issue an order for publication.

Step #3: Publish a service notice in local publications

Each state has slightly different rules for service by publication, and newspaper staff will usually help you write the notice based on the information in your divorce documents and judge’s order.

Some states require you to publish a notice once a week for a certain amount of time in the county where you’ve filed for divorce. Other states require you to choose a newspaper that covers the area where your spouse last lived. There may also be a set time — 30 days, for example — in which you must publish the notice after you receive your order for publication from the court.

You may be required to post an additional notice at the courthouse.

Divorce notice via Facebook?

There was a recent case in New York where a judge allowed a woman to serve her elusive husband on Facebook. The woman had tried other means to notify him of service, to no avail. She did not know her husband’s address but she was aware that he used Facebook to communicate. So, in an unprecedented move, the judge allowed the woman to use Facebook to serve him the notice and move the case forward.

Step #4: Wait, then move forward with divorce by default

Let the judge know as soon as you’ve published the notice by filing an affidavit with the court. Publications will usually give you an affidavit confirming that your notice was published the required number of times.

There is usually a minimum number of days you’re required to wait after publishing the notice before you can move forward with a divorce. The waiting period, 30 days in some states, is intended to allow the missing spouse time to see the notice and respond or contact the court.

After the necessary waiting period, you can ask the court for a divorce by default. Note that courts usually cannot decide on financial issues such as property division, alimony or child support without the cooperation of both spouses.

Takeaways

For the party who wants to move forward with a divorce in the face of a missing spouse, it is well advised to understand your specific state’s rules governing service of process and discuss your options with an experienced divorce lawyer.

It’s also in your best interest to work hard to locate the missing spouse by checking with friends and relatives, contacting former landlords, places of employment and any mutual friends or acquaintances who may be aware of where the party is living. With the Internet and social media, it’s a lot easier than it once was to locate someone even if they have moved out of the state or even out of the country. And, as was demonstrated in the recent New York case, judges might be starting to recognize the benefits of using technology in tracking down a missing party. Missing spouse divorce

A divorce usually starts with the filing of a divorce complaint or petition for divorce. Once the complaint is filed by one spouse, the other spouse must be notified of the action. That notification is called “service of process,” or simply “service.”

Each state has its own rules regarding service, and most offer a number of options for serving the complaint. For example, service may be done in person by having a process server hand the other spouse a copy of the divorce complaint. You can also serve a complaint by certified mail or regular mail. Problems arise when one spouse cannot be located, which usually only happens when the parties have been separated for a long time and don’t have financial ties to each other or children together that require them to stay in touch.

In situations where a spouse is missing, state court rules usually provide an alternative service method after the spouse petitioning for divorce has exhausted all reasonable attempts to find the other spouse.

Step #1: Try to find the missing spouse

Before a judge will allow you to use alternative methods of notification, you must exhaust your options for finding the missing spouse — a process known legally as “due diligence” or “diligent effort.” Reasonable steps include:

  • Contacting the spouse’s relatives, friends, former employers and former landlords
  • Searching on Internet social networks
  • Checking with government organizations like the post office, voter registration and department of motor vehicles
  • Trying to contact them via last known email addresses and phone numbers

You can hire a lawyer or private investigator to complete the due diligence process for you, you don’t have to do it personally.

Step #2: Ask the court to allow service by publication

After you’ve completed step #1, present your findings to the court and ask for permission to serve your spouse by publication. You may be required to present a sworn statement, called an affidavit, showing the steps you’ve taken to locate your missing spouse. A divorce cannot move forward unless there is a satisfactory showing that all possible steps have been taken to find the spouse. If the judge approves your due diligence, he will issue an order for publication.

Step #3: Publish a service notice in local publications

Each state has slightly different rules for service by publication, and newspaper staff will usually help you write the notice based on the information in your divorce documents and judge’s order.

Some states require you to publish a notice once a week for a certain amount of time in the county where you’ve filed for divorce. Other states require you to choose a newspaper that covers the area where your spouse last lived. There may also be a set time — 30 days, for example — in which you must publish the notice after you receive your order for publication from the court.

You may be required to post an additional notice at the courthouse.

Divorce notice via Facebook?

There was a recent case in New York where a judge allowed a woman to serve her elusive husband on Facebook. The woman had tried other means to notify him of service, to no avail. She did not know her husband’s address but she was aware that he used Facebook to communicate. So, in an unprecedented move, the judge allowed the woman to use Facebook to serve him the notice and move the case forward.

Step #4: Wait, then move forward with divorce by default

Let the judge know as soon as you’ve published the notice by filing an affidavit with the court. Publications will usually give you an affidavit confirming that your notice was published the required number of times.

There is usually a minimum number of days you’re required to wait after publishing the notice before you can move forward with a divorce. The waiting period, 30 days in some states, is intended to allow the missing spouse time to see the notice and respond or contact the court.

After the necessary waiting period, you can ask the court for a divorce by default. Note that courts usually cannot decide on financial issues such as property division, alimony or child support without the cooperation of both spouses.

Takeaways

For the party who wants to move forward with a divorce in the face of a missing spouse, it is well advised to understand your specific state’s rules governing service of process and discuss your options with an experienced divorce lawyer.

It’s also in your best interest to work hard to locate the missing spouse by checking with friends and relatives, contacting former landlords, places of employment and any mutual friends or acquaintances who may be aware of where the party is living. With the Internet and social media, it’s a lot easier than it once was to locate someone even if they have moved out of the state or even out of the country. And, as was demonstrated in the recent New York case, judges might be starting to recognize the benefits of using technology in tracking down a missing party. Missing spouse divorce

How to divorce a missing spouse in the usa

Not being able to locate your spouse is emotionally taxing on multiple levels, and only gets worse if you are in the beginning or middle of the divorce process. Your spouse might be missing for a variety of personal or professional reasons, but you are eager to move on with your life so the “why” might not really matter. The good news is that you can still continue the divorce process and make strides toward a new future even though you cannot locate your spouse. The following guide will help you understand what goes into the process and how you can get a jump start on the next stage of your life.

Initiating a Virginia Divorce When You Cannot Locate Your Spouse

There are several steps you need to take when pursuing a divorce without both members of the marriage readily available for in-person interactions. None of them stop you from being able to move forward with the process, however, so long as you check each box on the list.

How to divorce a missing spouse in the usa

1. File for Divorce

Even though you cannot find your spouse, you can still file for divorce. Here are a few of the facts about this process:

  • You must file a complaint with the circuit court in the county where you and your spouse last lived together.
  • The court or your attorney will advise you on the filing fee.
  • Once your spouse has been missing for six months (if you don’t have kids) or one year (if you do have kids), you have automatically fulfilled Virginia’s mandatory waiting period.

Your complaint should detail your grounds for divorce and relay that you have been separated for the required period and cannot locate your spouse. Your complaint will also include details about your marriage, such as whether you have children, the property and real estate you share, and the date you were married.

2. Reach Out to Your Social Network

If you are going through the emotional trauma of divorce and cannot locate your spouse, you might not want to share your pain with your extended friends and family. Unfortunately, you need to call upon family members, friends, and your extended social network to see if those connections can help locate him or her. You need to show the court that you have done your due diligence to find your spouse, which means you need to exhaust every option no matter how uncomfortable it makes you.

  • Start with your spouse’s last known address.
  • Reach out to your in-laws.
  • You should also consider contacting your spouse’s last known employer, who might have a forwarding address from a final paycheck

You can get a divorce without your spouse, but it’s much easier if you can serve him or her with a copy of your complaint. There is a chance that someone in your network has information or has had contact with your spouse, and he or she might reappear once they know you have filed the appropriate paperwork.

3. Use Online Tools

The internet provides a wide range of tools to help find missing people. You can begin a thorough search with these:

  • Perform a Google Search and also consider trying other search engines.
  • Check your spouse’s social media accounts.
  • Check phone listings for numbers in the last city or area where your spouse lived without you.
  • Search public records, including voter registration records, criminal databases and court records — especially if your spouse might be serving time in prison.
  • Check the Social Security Death Index to make sure your spouse is not on it.
  • Search military records if your spouse is active duty or returned to active duty. Service separation papers might also provide information.
  • Check Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records based on the last known or suspected residence.

If you have exhausted all of these options on your own, it might be time to call in a professional.

4. Consider a Private Investigator

If you come up empty when reaching out to friends and family and checking the internet, or if you simply don’t have the time to track down your spouse, hiring a private investigator might be a great option. Experienced investigators rely on tools of the trade and know how to find people — especially those who do not want to be found.

How to divorce a missing spouse in the usa

Hiring an investigator might sound expensive, but rates are often reasonable for these types of cases and are often more affordable than what you would have spent trying to find your spouse on your own. When in doubt, ask your divorce attorney. He likely has one or more reliable and effective investigators in his professional network.

5. Service by Publication

If you’ve exhausted all options for finding your spouse and did not have success, your next step is to request that a court approve divorce by publication. Here are a few of the facts about this process:

  • In a traditional divorce, you must serve divorce papers to your spouse and he or she has a specified time to respond or contest your complaint.
  • The same is true in a divorce by publication, but personal service does not work when you cannot locate him or her.
  • Instead, the Clerk of Court orders a local newspaper to print a legal notice of divorce proceedings referred to as service by publication.
  • The publication must run for four consecutive weeks.
  • If your spouse has not responded after four weeks, your divorce continues as if he or she waived their right to any further actions, the same as an uncontested divorce.

You should note that under Virginia Law, your spouse can petition the court to rehear the divorce case within one year of service or two years from the date the final divorce decree was entered.

6. Motion for Default Judgment

If your spouse does not respond to service by publication in the time allotted, your next step is to file a motion for default judgement. In legal terms, your spouse defaulted and your motion is the action you need to take for the judge to rule in your favor and grant your divorce. As a result, most parties who file for divorce by publication receive what they ask for in their initial divorce petition. The court cannot divide marital property or make decisions about child custody, alimony, or child support when your spouse has not participated in the process, after all.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer

Regardless of why your spouse is missing, the absence does not have to stop you from moving on with your life. You do not have to sit around to wait and wonder when or if you can get a divorce. Contact divorce expert Michael Ephraim today for legal advice when you cannot locate your spouse and seek a divorce by publication.

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Your spouse may not accept that you want a divorce. In fact, you may not even be able to locate your spouse in order to serve him or her with papers. If this is the case, you do not have to stay married for life. Instead, you need to know how to handle this issue when you want to get divorced in New York.

Try to Find Your Spouse

The court expects you to at least try to locate your spouse. You can do so by hiring a private investigator, or you can simply search on your own. You need to make an obvious effort to find your spouse, and once you provide evidence of this to the court, you will likely be granted divorce by publication. This means you need to publish your intent to divorce in a local paper for at least three weeks. This way, your spouse has a chance to find out about the impending divorce if he or she is still around and reads the paper. Once you have published the notice for three weeks, you may be granted your divorce.

Get a No Signature Divorce

If you have an address you believe your spouse lives at, you can have the divorce papers served there. He or she will have 20 days to reply to the papers. You cannot force him or her to respond by then, but you do have to ensure he or she knows about the divorce. When you hire a process server to drop off the papers, you know your spouse at least received them. Then it is up to him or her to respond in time. If this does not happen, you can show the court proof from the process server that the papers were given to your spouse, and the divorce might still proceed.

Have Your Spouse Agree to the Divorce

If you end up finding your spouse, or it turns out he or she was just ignoring you, it is possible for him or her to simply acknowledge the divorce papers. As long as your spouse signs and returns the papers that are served, there need be no further action on his or her part. The signed papers indicate your spouse knows about the divorce and is agreeing to it, resulting in an uncontested divorce. This way, you do not even have to see your husband or wife in person, which may be best if it turns out he or she has been hiding from you.

This is general legal information. To learn how the law applies to your situation, try to find more legal help.

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Posted on 04/14/2021at8:16 pm

What do I do if I get served with divorce papers?

When you receive the divorce papers, your spouse is asking for a divorce. You need to respond to the divorce petition. You will be called the “Respodent” in the case. You can also file a “counterclaim” along with your answer. A counterclaim is your request for a divorce, on whatever grounds you feel are appropriate. You can make your own requests for relief in your counterclaim.

In the paperwork you receive, the summons will tell you how many protected days you have (usually 20) to respond to the petition with an “answer.” This is the time you have to decide what you want to do, perhaps talk to a lawyer, and file paperwork with the court. This is your protected “answer period.” You can file an Answer at any time. If you do not file any Answer, the court still must wait for that protected period to run out before taking any decisions in your case.

Once the answer period runs out, though, the court can act even if you have not filed any response or answer or motion or request. If you do not file an answer or response the court may not even notify you about when a hearing is scheduled, especially if the court does not have your correct address. Once you have been served, and your protected answer period has run out, then the court is free to move forward with or without you.

If the court has not acted in your case, though, you can still submit an answer any time before your first hearing. You take a risk if you don’t file an answer in the protected answer period, because the court might act without telling you. But if the court hasn’t already taken some decision based on your failure to file an answer, then you can file a late answer. The judge may tell you that you can fill out an answer at the hearing if you haven’t submitted one already.

If you want to be sure that you are notified about all proceedings in the case you have to file an Answer. You should file your answer by the end of the protected answer period. If you don’t file an Answer, you might not be notified of future hearings. And if you don’t know about the hearing, you probably won’t be present to give your side of the case.

How do I file an answer if I’m served with divorce papers?

You can find an answer form on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals website here. You should fill out the forms for the Respondent. You can also get an Answer form in the circuit clerk’s office.

The answer states whether you agree to the divorce. The answer also lets you state what you want in the divorce. Along with your answer you should file a Financial Statement. If you and your spouse have children, you should also file your proposed Parenting Plan. All of these documents are available through the Legal Aid website, through the Supreme Court website, and from the clerk’s office where the divorce was filed. There are instructions available for many of these forms.

What will happen in the divorce if I don’t answer the divorce petition?

First of all, you might never be notified of the court hearing. If you have been served, but don’t answer, the court might think you don’t want to participate in the case. Don’t take that chance. File an answer just to guarantee that you are notified of the hearing.

But if you do know about the hearing and attend, the judge probably will give you a paper that you can sign as an answer. You might have about 30 seconds to do this at the hearing. You answer the divorce petition to let the court know your position in the divorce case. You answer the divorce petition to tell the judge what you want in the divorce. You could lose a lot of your rights by not writing an answer ahead of time when you’ve had time to think about it.

If you don’t file an answer, your spouse cannot get a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences (a no-fault divorce). To grant a divorce on that basis, both spouses must state in writing that you agree to the ground of irreconcilable differences. Both the husband and wife must sign notarized documents for this purpose. These documents must be put on file in the circuit clerk’s office. Those documents must state that irreconcilable differences exist.

However, your spouse may still be able to get a divorce if they can prove a fault ground for divorce. If you don’t answer the divorce petition and you don’t go to a hearing, it’s still possible that the judge can grant the divorce.

If that happens, the judge also can make other decisions in the divorce. If there was personal service on you, the court can address any issue your spouse wants to present. If there was more limited service of process, the court still may be able to address some issues.

In short, if you don’t file an answer you’re taking a big chance. You may not know when or whether the court is holding hearings in your case. You may never be given the chance to tell your side of the case. The court may issue orders against you that you could have defeated if you had been present. You won’t be able to get those orders changed later, if you didn’t file an answer and didn’t protect your right to be notified of hearings. Finally, at the least, you may cause the divorce to take a lot more time than you want if you do not answer and go to a hearing.

What happens after my spouse is served with the divorce petition?

Your spouse will get a notice with the divorce. The notice is called a “summons.” The summons tells him or her to file an answer to the divorce.

Your spouse will have a protected answer period, to give them time to decide how they want to respond. The period is 20 days if you obtain “personal service” on them. Otherwise the protected period will be 30 days. During that protected period you and the Court must wait for your spouse.

After that protected period is over you and the Court can move ahead with your case even if your spouse has not filed any response. Once the protected period is expired you don’t need to wait for your spouse to do something. You can ask the court to schedule a hearing and keep your case moving, even if your spouse does nothing.

Your spouse can file an Answer at any time, even if it’s after the protected answer period. The risk in filing a late answer is that the Court may have already acted without knowing what your spouse wanted. That’s your spouse’s problem, not your problem.

How Do I Get a Divorce When I Can’t Find My Spouse?

How to divorce a missing spouse in the usaIf you are married but don’t know where your spouse is we can still help you get divorced.

New York law requires that we serve your spouse the divorce documents so that he or she will have an opportunity to respond.

Although, obviously if you can’t find your spouse then serving them the documents is not possible.

In New York, if you can’t find your spouse to serve them the divorce paperwork, you need to do a Publication Divorce. A Publication Divorce is the only way to divorce a missing spouse.

So don’t worry – even if you can’t locate your spouse – we can still help!

We’ve helped many clients obtain divorces without their spouses’ signatures. The only requirement for a unilateral divorce is that you must not know where your spouse is located.

If you don’t know where they are and we can’t find them, then we can help you get a divorce without your spouse’s signature. They don’t even need to be served for that matter. The publication of the notice in the newspaper acts to put them on notice. Pretty cool, huh? More about this later…

What is a Publication Divorce Anyway?

In short, a New York Publication Divorce is when the Court allows us to publish a legal notice in the newspaper to put your spouse on notice of the fact that you’ve filed for divorce.

This is known as a “legal fiction” or “constructive notice” because the chances that your spouse will read that specific newspapers is one in a billion.

Even though this seems ridiculous to you and me both, this is the law. We have to work with the law in order to get you divorced.

Trying to get a divorce when one’s spouse has gone missing certainly complicates the situation. As the saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” Therefore, for a general dissolution of marriage in Florida, you usually need both parties.

Florida law, however, provides a remedy for a person who desires a divorce, but cannot find his or her spouse. The most common issue with a missing spouse is the petitioner no longer knows where the respondent lives.

In these situations, Florida courts allow for parties to dissolve their marriage by filing a petition for divorce by publication, also known as constructive service.

Attorney for Divorce by Publication in Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you or someone you know wants to get a divorce, but they cannot find their spouse, call Bacchus Law Firm. Our office can aid you in the process of dissolving your marriage even if the other spouse is missing.

We have represented clients for years in many types of family law matters, from negotiating prenuptial agreements to child custody time-sharing agreements, and divorce cases.

Our office is conveniently located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, just minutes from Broward County Central Courthouse and we have taken cases in Miami, West Palm Beach, LaBelle, and East Naples, Florida.

Contact our office at (954) 500-5555 for a free no-obligations consultation.

Overview of Divorce When Spouse is Missing in Broward County

  • What steps does a person need to take in order to divorce a missing spouse?
  • Which kinds of alimony can be awarded?
  • Where can I find more informaiton about divorce when spouse is missing in Fort Lauderdale?

How to Divorce a Missing Spouse

In order for a court to grant a dissolution of marriage by publication, the court has to find that the petitioner tried very hard to search for the missing spouse.

When filing for divorce, the petitioner will have to file a Notice of Action for Dissolution of Marriage; an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry; and information concerning how you performed a diligent search, and a list of the internet resources for conducting that search, if any.

Examples of a “Diligent Search and Inquiry”

The Florida courts have provided a few examples of what may qualify as a diligent search and inquiry sufficient to be granted a dissolution of marriage with a missing spouse. The following list is not exclusive. There are other actions sufficient to constitute a diligent search. A diligent search may include the following:

  • searching the phone directories of the cities and towns of the respondent’s possible residences;
  • asking the U.S. Postmaster in cities of respondent’s previously known residences for forwarding addresses under the FOIA act;
  • searching the public records of the tax collector and assessor;
  • inquiring of persons in the neighborhoods where the respondent formerly lived;
  • asking utility companies, including water, sewer, cable, TV, and electric, in areas of likely residence;
  • searching the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle records;
  • contacting the respondent’s last known employer –asking about any addresses to which W-2 forms were mailed or where any pension or profit sharing plans were mailed;
  • inquiring of regulatory agencies, including licensing agencies;
  • gathering the names and addresses of the respondent’s relatives and contacts with those relatives and ask them all for any information that may lead to finding the respondent;
  • inquiring with law enforcement agencies at the respondent’s last known residential area;
  • inquiring at hospitals in the respondent’s last known living area;
  • using private investigation agencies or similar ‘skip tracing’ services;
  • searching the Internet using search sites;
  • writing letters to the Armed Forces of the U.S. asking whether or not they have any information on the respondent.

The petitioner should follow all leads that he or she is able to obtain and list all efforts and actions taken to locate the respondent in the affidavit.

Additional Resources

Self-Service Form – Visit the Clerk of the Courts of the 17 th Circuit for more information about filing for divorce as a pro se litigant.

Florida Department of Corrections – Visit the Florida Department of Corrections for more information on locating prisoners in the Florida prison system to inquire after whether the spouse has been detained by Florida law enforcement.

Fla. Stat. § 61.052 – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature for more information about the Florida dissolution of marriage statute. Find information on the statutory requirements for dissolving a marriage under Florida jurisdiction.

Find a Lawyer for Divorce by Publication in Broward County, FL

If you or someone you know is missing their spouse and now wants a divorce, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Bacchus Law Firm. Our lawyers are zealous advocates and will fight for the rights of those who have been affected by spousal disappearance.

We have years of experience representing clients in multiple family law matters, including child custody, time-sharing agreements, and other child support matters. We take cases throughout the Miami-metropolitan area in counties like Collier County, Broward County, Hendry County, Palm Beach County, and Miami-Dade County, FL.

Call (954) 500-5555 now for more information.

This Article Was Last Updated Thursday, June 1, 2017.