Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, and it only becomes more kcomplicated when your spouse is missing. Although not every state has specific laws regarding divorces when one spouse is missing, you can still file for divorce if your spouse has disappeared.
How do you file for divorce when your spouse is missing?
Make a Reasonable Effort to Locate Your Spouse
In most states, before you can file for divorce, you need to demonstrate that you have made a reasonable effort to locate your spouse. This effort may include hiring a private investigator, sending letters to your spouse’s last known address, or even placing advertisements in local newspapers.
File a Divorce Petition with the Court
After you have made reasonable efforts to locate your spouse, and they still cannot be found, you can file a divorce petition. In the petition, you will need to explain to the court that your spouse is missing and cannot be found.
Serve Notice by Publication
To serve notice to your missing spouse, you may need to publish a notice in a local newspaper. This notice will inform your spouse that you have filed for divorce and that they need to respond within a particular time frame. The court will typically require that you publish the notice for several weeks to ensure that your spouse has a reasonable opportunity to respond.
Attend Court Hearings
After filing a divorce petition and serving notice by publication, you will need to attend court hearings. These hearings will be used to determine how property will be divided, child custody, and spousal support. If your spouse does not attend the hearings, the court will typically default in your favor.
Hire a Divorce Attorney
Filing for divorce when your spouse is missing can be a complicated process. It is recommended that you seek the help of an experienced divorce attorney in Tampa who can guide you through the process. A divorce attorney can advise you on which documents you need, what hearings you must attend, and what to do if your spouse is found during the divorce process.