If I can’t findmy spouse and want a divorce, what can I do?

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If I can’t findmy spouse and want a divorce, what can I do?

I live in GA and My wife lives in AL. My wife has been missing for 2 years. Only the occasional phone call. I sent papers certified to her last known address where she resides with a convicted sex offender. We have 2 children of the marriage. She has not signed for the papers and she has had her phone disconnected. My children and I have not seen her in 2 years. What can I do to divorce her and take full custody of my children? And can I have a temp restraining order to protect my children? There were threats from her boyfriend at one point.

Asked on September 17, 2010 under Family Law, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can get what is called a "divorce by default".  What you have to do is to have your papers prepared and then filed with the court.  At that point a citation will be issued and your spouse will need to be served.  In this case, you can "serve" the divorce complaint via a "notice by publication".  This is used when a "respondent-spouse" (your wife) cannot be located by the "petitioner-spouse" (you) in a divorce proceeding.  The way this works is that the respondent is notified of the divorce proceedings by publishing  notice in a local paper in the area of their last known address.  Then, after a specified time period (depending on your state's requirements; typically 30 days or so), if your spouse does not answer and defaults, you will then file your final paperwork and appear before the judge (typically in 60 days).  A divorce is then granted generally on the terms that you requested.

As for the restraining order, you should discuss this situation with your local police department. 


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