How does my fiance get a divorce from her husband in the state of Ohio without knowing the whereabouts of her husband?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How does my fiance get a divorce from her husband in the state of Ohio without knowing the whereabouts of her husband?

My fiance has been separated from her
husband for 3 years. Her husband is
very uncooperative and will not provide
us with an address to serve him papers
at. How do we go about getting her a
divorce? She needs this part of her
life over with. We have a newborn
daughter together and already have had
to put his name on the birth
certificate because she is legally
married to him. Please help.

Asked on May 3, 2017 under Family Law, Ohio


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is something known as "service by publication", that can be used in a situation such as this. In any legal proceeding, action against cannot be taken against without first giving them notice of the proceedings. This is so that they have the chance to appear and explain their side. Therfore, in the case of a divorce filing, even if a spouse can't be located they still must be notified of it before it can proceed. Service by publication generally works as follows: the filing spouse (i.e the "petitioner") must make a good faith effort to find their missing spouse (i.e. the "respondent"); the petitioner must then present proof to the court that they made a diligent effort to locate the respondent; once this is done they will be allowed to serve that spouse by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper in the spouse's last know location (this as opposed to personally serving them which is the usual method). As a general rule, the respondent has 30-60 days to file their reply. If they fail to do so within the time specified, the petitioner then can file a request to enter a "divorce by default", although the respondent is given a certain time limit in which they can file an appeal. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local divorce attorney as to all of this as they can best advise you further.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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