How to File for Divorce if You Can’t Locate Your Spouse

While many spouses file for divorce as soon as they decide the marriage is over, others choose to separate indefinitely or completely abandon the marriage. 

If your spouse has chosen to abandon the marriage and is now missing, divorce is still an option. If you can’t locate your spouse and you’re trying to get a divorce in Georgia, your best option is to get a divorce by publication. A divorce by publication allows you to file when you’re not able to find your spouse.

Here’s what you need to know about divorce by publication:

Reasons to Get a Divorce by Publication

  • Your spouse is missing and cannot be found
  • Your spouse has moved to a different state, territory or country

Before you can get a divorce by publication, you must first attempt to send your spouse a petition for dissolution – a document that you can file to start the divorce process. If your spouse doesn’t respond or you simply can’t locate your spouse, you must conduct a “diligent search.”

How Do I Conduct a Diligent Search?

  •  File a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request
  • Search DMV, police, jail, and local hospital records
  • Contact your spouse’s friends, relatives, or co-workers

I Still Can’t Find My Missing Spouse, Now What?

  1. Contact a divorce attorney. Without the assistance of an attorney, you are increasing your chances of missing any fine details and potentially extending the divorce process.
  2. File a motion for service by publication. You will do this in court to show that you’ve done everything you can to find your missing spouse.
  3. Issue an order of publication. Once the judge has approved your motion to serve by publication, you are allowed to publish your pending divorce in a local newspaper as a final notification to your spouse.
  4. File for divorce by publication. If you are still unable to locate your spouse, you are then eligible for a divorce by publication. Your attorney will guide you through this process to ensure your needs are met.

To file for a Georgia divorce, you must be a resident for 6 months or 180 days.

Why Do I Need a Divorce Attorney?

Even if you aren’t able to find your spouse, there will be some concerns that the court won’t be able to resolve such as child support, property rights, etc. A qualified divorce attorney will protect your rights and make sure you don’t miss anything within the terms of your divorce.

Contact the Atlanta Divorce Attorneys at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor Today

Our dedicated team is here to fully understand your situation so we can completely review your rights and options, consider any alternatives, and prepare a sound strategy for your Georgia divorce. With over 20 years of dedicated experience in divorce law, the attorneys at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor have reached an unmatched level of expertise that we’d like to share with you.

We have been proudly serving the Atlanta metropolitan area since 1988 with four convenient offices located in Alpharetta, Buckhead, Dunwoody, and Marietta.

To schedule a consultation today, call us at (678) 971-3413or click here to complete a contact form.