A divorce can be challenging enough when your spouse does not want to cooperate with the divorce, but what if your spouse is missing? Sometimes, a spouse decides to walk away and never come back. In other cases, something tragic might have happened. However, if your spouse cannot be located, this doesn't mean that you cannot file for divorce, but it might be more difficult.
Your Partner Must Actually Be Missing
Your spouse might have left you but you may still know their address and telephone number. Regardless of how long you have been separated, you can still file for a divorce and the length of the separation will not affect how much your divorce will cost as long as your spouse cooperates once they have been served the divorce papers.
An uncontested no-fault divorce is typically the least expensive divorce. Much of it can be done out of court. You have the option to turn to mediation or arbitration. However, if you are not able to obtain the consent of your spouse, you may not be able to file for no-fault divorce in some states. Always consult with a divorce lawyer in this situation to find out if you can actually file for a no-fault divorce.
Divorces Are More Expensive With Missing Spouses
If you do not know where your partner is located, your divorce will be more expensive because the courts will require you to prove that it is not possible to find your spouse. Therefore, you will need to exhaust all possible means by which to locate them and will also need to wait for these attempts to be carried out.
For example, you may attempt to locate your spouse by having an ad placed in the paper. Then, enough time would need to pass for the spouse to be able to see the ad and respond to it. Various attempts must be used to make sure that the process is fair for your ex.
You may be able to find your ex by speaking to neighbors at their last known address, friends, and family members. In addition to checking their social media, you may reach out through social media to those who knew your partner. You may even need to hire a tracing agent.
Why a Missing Spouse Is a Problem for Divorce
The reason why the courts follow this process is to avoid situations where a partner files for divorce and falsely claims that their ex cannot be found. This would lead to the ex losing the right to participate in the divorce and advocate for their own interests. However, if you still can't find your spouse, consult with a divorce lawyer about the next best steps to take.