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Ghosted by Your Spouse? Here’s How to Divorce Them Anyway

Lost track of your spouse but need a divorce?

Don’t worry, there’s a way to make it official even if they’ve vanished off the face of the earth. Here’s the lowdown.

So, you tied the knot young, thinking it was forever. Fast forward through a few years, and “forever” turned into “what was I thinking?” Let’s say your once-beloved, let’s call them Derek, turned into a bit of a Casanova, leaving you to pick up the pieces. Now, it’s been ages, you’ve moved on, and suddenly, you’re ready to remarry but—oops—you’re still technically hitched to Houdini. If Derek’s pulled a disappearing act, here’s your step-by-step guide to getting that divorce, even if they’re MIA.

  1. Filing the Petition: First up, you’ve got to file a Petition for Dissolution. No shortcuts here; it’s your golden ticket to getting a case number and officially starting the divorce process. Without this step, you’re stuck in marital limbo.
  2. The Serving Saga: Normally, you’d have a process server deliver the divorce papers to Derek, but what if Derek’s off the grid? You might picture a dramatic “you’ve been served” moment, but if Derek’s whereabouts are a mystery, you’ll need a different plan.
  3. When Derek’s Gone AWOL: It’s a common pickle, believe it or not. The court won’t let you off the hook just because Derek’s in hiding. You’ve still got to make an effort to serve them, or else your case could get tossed out. But don’t lose hope; there are ways to serve even the most elusive exes.
  4. Alternative Service to the Rescue: If traditional serving methods are out, you might be eligible for alternative service. This means you’ve tried everything to find Derek but came up empty. You’ll need to convince the court you’ve done your due diligence, then they might let you serve Derek by other means, like publication in a newspaper.
  5. Service by Publication: When all else fails, serving by publication is your go-to. It involves posting a notice in the newspaper in Derek’s last known whereabouts, once a week for four weeks straight. It’s not the court’s first choice, but if Derek’s playing hide-and-seek, it’s a valid last resort.
  6. The Waiting Game: After serving, you’ve got to wait 20 days to give Derek a chance to respond. No word from Derek? You can proceed with getting a default divorce, which means the divorce can go through without Derek’s input.
  7. Default Divorce: This is where you officially apply to the court to say, “Derek’s not responding, let’s wrap this up.” You’ll fill out some paperwork, maybe have a quick court hearing, and voilà, you’re free to marry Chris (or just enjoy the single life).

Divorcing a spouse who’s vanished isn’t easy, but it’s far from impossible. With a bit of patience and some legal legwork, you can close that chapter of your life for good. Remember, when it comes to missing exes and divorce, you’ve got options. And hey, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, a chat with a family law attorney can help clear the fog. Here’s to new beginnings and officially saying “bye, Derek!”

 

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