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Divorcing an Absentee Spouse

Posted on in Complex Divorce

Texas divorce attorney, Texas custody lawyerAlthough filing for divorce is always a complex and emotional process, it can be even more difficult when one of the parties cannot be located. In these situations, the party petitioning the court must comply with specific procedures, so if you are considering filing for divorce and do not know where your spouse currently lives, it is critical to speak with an experienced complex divorce attorney who can help explain your next steps.

Filing a Petition

Even when someone does not know where his or her spouse is currently living, it is still necessary to take the following steps:

  • Draft and file a petition for divorce;
  • Pay the court filing fees; and
  • Attempt to serve the petition on the other party at his or her last known address.

However, if after attempting to personally serve the other party, the filing spouse is still unsuccessful, it is possible to try other methods of notification.

Citation by Publication

If a spouse cannot be located and personally served with a divorce petition, the filing party can draft an affidavit confirming the dates and times that efforts were made to serve the other party. The court can then choose to allow the filing party to post a citation, publicizing the divorce at the courthouse for seven days. In the event that the other spouse fails to respond to the notice, the court will appoint an attorney ad litem, who will represent the interests of the missing person. However, if the couple has no children under the age of 18 years old and no appreciable amount of property, the court can dispense with the appointment.

The ad litem attorney would then be required to conduct his or her own investigation into the other spouse’s whereabouts. If, after attempting to find the other spouse, the attorney ad litem reports that he or she still cannot be located, the court will grant the divorce without requiring the missing spouse to appear. On the other hand, if the attorney is able to locate the other party, the court will require the filing party to serve him or her personally with the divorce petition at the new address.

Call Today to Speak with an Experienced Complex Divorce Attorney

Those who are filing for divorce, but do not know where their spouse currently lives must follow specific procedures. Failing to take these necessary steps can delay finalization of the divorce, which can be both frustrating and expensive, so if you are considering divorcing your spouse, but do not know where to find him or her, please contact The Law Offices of William D. Powers to speak with a knowledgeable and compassionate Cedar Park complex divorce attorney.

 

Source:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.6.htm

The Law Offices of William D. Powers

8911 N. Capital of Texas Highway, Building 2, Suite 2105, Austin, TX 78759