Can I Get A Divorce if I Cannot Locate My Spouse?

Yes, the courts have made a provision for people who wish to divorce but cannot locate their spouse.

Starting the Divorce Process

A 'Publication Divorce' is a divorce where the petitioner (the one who is filing for divorce) cannot locate the spouse. The procedure involves filing for the divorce then doing a search for anyone with the same name in the state where they last lived.  At the same time a petition and order for publication are filed indicating what the petitioner did to locate the spouse. If the spouse’s name does not come up in the search, then the court will issue an order to allow for a publication.  If the name does come up in the search, then the petitioner contacts the person or persons by mail or by telephone to determine if the person is their spouse.  If the spouse is located, then he/she is served with the divorce petition. 

If the Spouse is Not Located

If the spouse is not located a supplemental declaration is filed with the court informing the court the people located in the search were not the spouse.  The court would then sign the order for publication.  The publication appears in a local legal newspaper and it runs once a week for four weeks.  After a waiting period passes, a default could be entered and the divorce would proceed through the courts and end in divorce.  If the spouse does not have property and/or children a court appearance is unnecessary.  In these cases, the divorce is usually finalized in a timely fashion.  However, if the spouse has children and/or property then a court appearance will be necessary before the divorce is finalized. 


Legal Action Workshop can help you with a Publication Divorce in California. Contact us today!