Can I Get a Divorce if My Spouse is Missing?
You want to get a divorce, but cannot locate your spouse, so what are you supposed to do? In the state of Illinois, you can obtain a divorce through a process known as Service by Publication. However, a judge must be convinced, based on a sworn declaration, that you made a reasonable effort to locate or contact your spouse.
Here is what you need to know about getting divorced if your spouse is missing:
Courts in Illinois require a petitioner to prove that he or she made genuine attempts to search for the missing partner. If reasonable means to find the spouse were fruitless, the petitioning spouse would place an advertisement in a newspaper to inform the spouse that there are divorce proceedings against him or her. During this time, the petitioning spouse could file for divorce as one normally would, in addition to signing an affidavit that states he or she looked for the missing spouse.
After the Service by Publication and divorce filing, the process will proceed as a default divorce. If the missing spouse does not take any action, the petitioning spouse will win the action.
What is a “Good Faith” Search?
In the eyes of the court, what does it mean for a petitioning spouse to search for a missing spouse in good faith? How much is enough? A petitioning spouse is expected to search the phone book and directory assistance in the area in which he or she lives and in the area where the missing spouse last lived. A search should also include asking friends and relatives for the missing spouse’s location, checking with the post office for a forwarding address, and checking with the tax collector to find out if the missing spouse has property. The Affidavit of Diligent Search clearly outlines all of the actions a petitioning spouse is expected to take to locate a spouse.
Assuming you actively pursue locating your spouse through all of the outlined methods, but still cannot locate him or her, you will likely be able to obtain a Divorce by Publication with ease.
Illinois Divorce Attorney
Going through a divorce is an emotional and difficult process and even more so if you cannot locate your spouse. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., we will help you with all aspects of your divorce proceedings and help make this process go smoothly while answering any questions you might have. Our Illinois divorce team will assist you no matter what your situation entails.
Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team. You should not have to endure this alone.