How to get a divorce when husband’s whereabouts are unknown?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How to get a divorce when husband’s whereabouts are unknown?

The last time I heard from my husband was about 4 years ago. He told me he was going to a homeless shelter at that time. Since then, I have tried his cell phone disconnected and the internet nothing on social media to find him so I can get his signature for a divorce. What can I do to get a divorce from someone that I cannot find?

Asked on January 4, 2017 under Family Law, Michigan


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

As with any legal action, any person named in it needs to be given notice. So in this case that means that you will have to serve your husband in order to give him an opportunity to answer the complaint that you will file. In a situation wherein a spouse cannot be found, after all reasonable attempts to do so, you may be able serve them notice via "publication". What this means is that you can ask the court to allow you put a notice in a newspaper in the area of your husband's last known location (the court will instruct you in what newspapers to do this). After that, if he fails to respond, you can then proceed with the case and a "divorce by default" can be granted. At this point, you should speak directly to a local divorce attorney who can 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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