Is there anyway for me to get this divorce if my husband and I have not seen or spoken to

each other in over 5 years?

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Is there anyway for me to get this divorce if my husband and I have not seen or spoken to

each other in over 5 years?

I was married 8 years ago and separated 3 years later. Since then we have been living in different states. We do not speak and I have no way to contact him. I can only contact his parents on Facebook. I have reached out to them several times and each time they tell me that he has filed for divorce and has the papers that just need my signature for the divorce to be complete. I am perfectly fine with this because I just want to be divorced we have no children

or assets. However, each time I speak with his parents they ask me for an address and tell me they will have him send the papers. I give them my address and yet they never send the papers. The last time I was told they were being sent was 8 months ago. I contacted his father today on Facebook and was told that he himself is currently not living in the U.S. so it is hard for him to get his son my husband who lives in the U.S. to do things he does not care about. What steps should I take in this situation?

Asked on June 6, 2016 under Family Law, Nebraska

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

When one spouse wants to end a marriage but the other spouse is being uncooperative, a divorce may still be obtained (even if that spouse lives in another country). The fact is that even if a spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, while this will delay things it will not stop them. In such a situation the remedy is a "divorce by default".

To begin divorce proceedings, the "petititoner" (i.e. the one seeking to divorce) must file a petition in their state court. Once this has been done the petition must served to the "respondent" (i.e. the non-filing spouse). In the case of a respondent who resides out of the country that are certain notice requirements that must be met (they vary from state-to-state). As a general rule, the respondent has 20-30 days to provide a response. If the respondent fails to file an answer withing the time given, then the petitioner may file a notice of "default" with the court.
A copy of the petitioner's application for a default must be served on the respondent (as stated abpve, special notice provisions apply to an a respondent living outside of the U.S.). After the default notice has been served, the respondent has several weeks has to file a response. If they answer within the time allowed, the petitioner then appears before a judge in order for them to make a decision as to whether or not to grant the divorce. The judge will base their ruling solely on the evidence presented by the petitioner. Generally, the court will grant a divorce on the terms that the petitioner has requested. The respondent has the right to ask the court to "vacate" (i.e. undo) its order but there is a strict requirements for doing so and if they requirements are not met the decree will stand.
At this point, you should contact a divorce attorney and consult with them directly. They can best advise you, especially with making sure that the proper notice requirements for someone living in a foreign country are met; they can be tricky.


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