Most people know that, like most legal matters, divorce involves paperwork. You will “serve” the divorce petition to your spouse. He or she must “respond” to the divorce petition and either agree to the proposed divorce terms or contest the divorce terms. However, some spouses are so estranged that the spouse seeking the divorce does not know where the other spouse is. Fortunately, there is a way to proceed with divorce even if a spouse is missing. Read on to learn more.
Understanding the Divorce Service Process
When someone files for divorce in Illinois, he or she uses a document called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This document starts the divorce process and lists the petitioner’s demands. Some spouses are able to simply hand the divorce petition to their spouses. Others deliver the divorce paperwork by certified mail or hire a county sheriff to serve the petition and summons to the other spouse. However, if you do not know where your spouse lives and have no means of contacting him or her, these are not feasible options.
Divorce By Publication
Spouses who do not want to get divorced sometimes do everything in their power to avoid the process. They think that my moving to a new home and cutting off ties, they can stop the divorce from happening. Other spouses go missing because of mental health issues, drug addiction, or personal issues. If your spouse cannot be located, you can still get divorced. To do so, you will need to post notice of the divorce in a newspaper. Divorce by publication in the newspaper is considered a last-ditch effort to notify the spouse about the divorce and give him or her time to respond.
Divorce by publication involves publishing a notice of the divorce in the newspaper. However, divorce by publication is considered a last resort, and this option is only available if you get permission from a Judge. You will need to demonstrate to the Judge that you have tried everything in your power to contact your spouse and serve him or her the divorce petition. This may include contacting your spouse’s relatives, friends, and last known employer, looking for your spouse on social media, and sending the petition to his or her last know address.
If you make a good faith effort to locate your spouse but still cannot find him or her, you may be granted permission to seek a divorce by publication. You will publish a notice in the newspaper that includes:
- Your name
- Your spouse’s name
- The fact that you have filed a Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage
- The city and county where your case has been filed
- The date of default
If your spouse does not respond by the date of default, you will be granted a default judgment. In other words, you will be granted the divorce terms you have requested (within reason).
Contact a Palatine Divorce Lawyer
If you want to get divorced, but you cannot find your spouse, contact the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., for help. Arlington Heights divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson can explain all of your options and help you take the next step. Call 847.873.6741 for a free consultation.