What can I do if my wife and I have been seperated for about 7 years and I have filed for divorce but she has refused to sign?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can I do if my wife and I have been seperated for about 7 years and I have filed for divorce but she has refused to sign?

What can I do to legally get a divorce without her signing? I currently don’t know where she is or where she resides.

Asked on January 6, 2016 under Family Law, Mississippi


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

All parties to a legal action must be given notice of the proceedings. In a case such as this, your spouse can be served the divorce complaint by what is called "notice by publication".  This is a mechanism used when a respondent-spouse (i.e. your wife) cannot be located by the petitioner-spouse (i.e. you) as oppossed to the usual personal service.
In most statess, to obtain a divorce by publication, you'll need to perform a diligent and documented search for your missing wife in the same general location of where she was last known to live. If you fail to locate her, you can then ask to the judge to issue an order of publication. If the order is granted, a legal notice is sent to all of the newspapers provided to you by the court. Typically, this notice must be published within 30-60 days after being issued for about once a week for the next several weeks. If there is no response from your wife within the allowed time period, you can obtain what is known as a divorce "by default". In most states it takes 3-6 months before your divorce will be  final.
For further information, you should consult directly with a local attorney in your area. They can best advise you as to specific state law.

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.

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