Not every person is cut out for the responsibility and commitment that marriage and children entail. Some parents leave their families to pursue relationships with other people; some wander off because they miss living a life of spontaneity and solitude; still others leave without any explanation, leaving their family to fend for themselves.
The spouse who is left picking up the pieces generally does not want to remain married to someone who is no longer interested in shouldering their share of the family burden. But getting divorced when your spouse is missing or unwilling to participate in the divorce process presents some additional challenges. Read on for a brief overview of how you can divorce a missing spouse, and then contact an Illinois divorce attorney for customized help.
Do I Have to Try to Find My Spouse?
Sometimes the spouse who stays to care for a family is not sorry to see a cold, abusive, or neglectful spouse hit the road. If you are in this situation, you may not want to ever see or speak to your spouse again – and understandably so. But to get divorced from your spouse, you will need to prove to a judge that you have tried to contact your spouse without success. A judge will expect to see proof of significant efforts. These include:
- Looking up a spouse’s public records in your state or other states’ arrest records
- Checking local hospitals and psychiatric institutions
- Contacting your bank to see whether your spouse has tried to access joint funds and where they did so
- Contacting your spouse’s employer, friends, family, and anyone else who might know where they are
- Looking on social media, in public directories, voter registration records, and employment websites like LinkedIn
- Any other avenue of contact that might yield information about your ex’s whereabouts
If you have tried every possible avenue and still cannot find and contact your ex, you can request permission to get divorced via publication. This will require you to publish notice of your intent to divorce, with your names, the case number, and the date the divorce will be finalized, in local newspapers once a week for three weeks. A copy of at least one newspaper must be sent to your spouse’s last known address.
If you do manage to locate your spouse and serve him with divorce papers, but he refuses to respond or make any effort to be involved, a judge can still issue a default divorce and issue judgments in your favor. It is important to know what you stand to gain in such a judgment and what you can rightfully request under Illinois law.
Call a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
Even though getting divorced after being abandoned by your spouse leaves you dealing with more than one less-than-ideal situation, you can still get the help you need and move on with your life. Call the offices of Calabrese Associates, P.C. to learn more about how the divorce process works when a spouse cannot be located. Our Naperville, IL divorce attorneys offer comprehensive consultations so we can learn the specifics of your case and offer the advice you need. Call us today at 630-393-3111.