When a person files a petition for divorce, called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Illinois, he or she must serve his or her spouse with the divorce petition. This sometimes involves one spouse simply handing the paperwork to the other spouse or it may be accomplished through a process server or other qualified third party. However, there are some circumstances where serving a spouse a divorce petition may be nearly impossible. When a spouse cannot be located, you will need to take special steps in order to be granted a divorce.
Attempting to Find a Missing Spouse
If you want to file for divorce but you do not know where your spouse is, you may be able to serve notice of the divorce through the newspaper. If the spouse still does not respond, you may be able to obtain a divorce without his or her participation. However, before either of those things happen, you will need to make a genuine effort to locate your spouse. You will also need to list all of the attempts you have made to find your spouse in an affidavit and file it with the court. It is recommended that you take at least the following steps to locate your spouse:
Call your spouse’s last known residential phone number and work phone number.
Search the phone book, directory assistance, and registrar of voters for his or her contact information.
Check the post office to see if your spouse has left a forwarding address.
Ask your spouse’s friends, family members, employers, and coworkers for his or her contact information.
Look for your spouse on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media websites.
Notifying a Spouse of Divorce Via Publication
If you cannot find your spouse after thoroughly searching for him or her, the court will allow you to publish a notice of the divorce in the newspaper. The notice must include both spouses’ names, the details of the case being filed, the date after which a default divorce judgment may be entered against the spouse, and other information. A copy of the newspaper notice must also be mailed to your spouse’s last known address. After this notice is published at least once a week for three weeks, you can ask the court to continue with the divorce process in your spouse’s absence. If your spouse does not respond to the divorce petition, you will be granted a divorce by default.
Contact a Wheaton Divorce Lawyer
If you do not know where your spouse is and you want to file for divorce, contact The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. to receive the legal assistance you need. Our skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys have extensive experience handling unique divorce situations, including those involving missing spouses. We will make sure your rights are protected throughout the proceedings. Call our office today at 630-462-9500 today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your options.