Do I have to have my ex-husband’s signature in to divorce him from another state?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I have to have my ex-husband’s signature in to divorce him from another state?

I’ve been separated for 11 years and filed and paid for a divorce the other day. My ex lives in another state across the country. Do I have to send him copies to be signed or can I ask the court to go ahead with processing the divorce? When I did the papers I didn’t know how to contact him so I put unknown on all his info, the clerk said he had to be served and wouldn’t answer any of my questions.

Asked on March 2, 2018 under Family Law, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

So divorcing someone requires that they be given notice of the court proceeding under the law.  If you truly did not know where they were then the court would likely require that you publish the information (the summons and complaint) in a local paper after you have exhausted other means for finding him.  It is best that you try and get him to sign the necessary documents for an uncontested divorce.  So long as you have his last known address then you are fine, even if he defaults (does not answer the complaint after he has been served).  You can then go ahead but there is a lot of procedure involved.  You can amend the court papers to add his address.  Do so now.  I would get legal help for all of this.  Good luck.

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