Divorce can be stressful even in amicable circumstances. When you add an absentee spouse to the mix, the whole process can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, most people are cooperative and respond to their spouse’s efforts to contact them. In some cases, however, the person disappears, causing the other spouse a lot of frustration and anxiety.
The good news is that you can still get divorced even if you can’t find your spouse. Generally, you have three options when it comes to tracking down an unwilling or unreachable ex.
Ask for More Time
One of the easiest approaches when you can’t locate your spouse is to simply request more time from the court. This is where the help of an experienced family law lawyer can be invaluable, as the burden of finding your spouse falls on you – not the court. In some cases, individuals have been able to track down an absentee spouse through social media, such as Facebook. You can also search criminal records, past employers, and property records.
Divorce by Publication
“Divorce by publication” allows you to obtain a divorce even when you can’t find the other person. With divorce by publication, you must swear to the court that you have diligently searched for the other person but still can’t locate him or her. From there, you publish notice of the divorce in a local newspaper for four consecutive weeks – the idea being that your spouse will see it in the paper. After 60 days with no response from your spouse, the court will grant an uncontested divorce.
Wait It Out
The court can grant the divorce if the other spouse fails to respond within 45 days of the filing of the initial pleading. Although Georgia law does not permit a “default judgment” in divorce cases, the court does have the authority to move forward with the divorce without the other party being present or even notified of subsequent hearings.
Georgia Divorce and Family Law
I help individuals and families throughout Georgia in a wide range of family law cases. Contact my office today at (912) 265-9811 to discuss your case.
This article has been prepared by J. Alan Welch Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.