What I can do to get a divorce when my husband has been out of the country for 10 years and I have no contact with him?

UPDATED: Aug 6, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Aug 6, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What I can do to get a divorce when my husband has been out of the country for 10 years and I have no contact with him?

Do I need an attorney or canIi get the forms and send it out and send it to him?

Asked on August 6, 2011 Nevada


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is something known as "divorce by publication" which is used for the very circumstance that you have here - a spouse whose whereabouts are unknown. By way of background, in any legal proceeding the concept of "notice" is critical. Legal action cannot be taken against someone without giving them the right to appear and explain their side of things. Therefore, even if a spouse can't be located they still must be notified of the divorce action before it can proceed. 

Divorce by publication typically works like this - you as the filing spouse (i.e. petitioner) must make a good faith effort to find your missing spouse (i.e. respondent).  You will have to present proof to the court that you made a true effort to locate him; for example by searching near his last known address. Once you have demonstrated to the the court's satisfaction that you have made a diligent search, you will be allowed to serve your spouse by publishing notice in a newspaper as opposed to personally serving them (the court will instruct as to which paper should be used).  

Generally, the respondent has 30-60 days to file a reply. If they fail to respond within that time the petitioner files a request to enter a "divorce by default" (although the respondent is given a certain time limit in which they can appeal).

In your case, since your husband is living out of the country, the notice requirements will be somewhat more complicated.  So you best bet is to hire an attorney that has experience in this type of divorce. You want to make sure that you follow all required steps; this isn't something that you want to get wrong.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption