How Do I File for Divorce When I Cannot Locate My Spouse?

Posted on December 30, 2019 by Chris Kirker

If you are uncertain as to where your spouse is, or if they have moved out of state without providing a forwarding address, you can still file for divorce in Texas and, after you have complied with certain procedural requirements, the court may permit you to serve your spouse by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper rather than by personal service.

Before a court will permit you to serve your spouse by publication, you must first diligently attempt to locate your spouse. A diligent search essentially means that you took steps that a person who truly wants to find another person would take. A non-exhaustive list of such steps includes contacting the U.S. Postal Service and your spouse’s relatives, as well as their last known home address and place of employment. Once you have performed an exhaustive search and still cannot find your spouse, you must execute what is called an Affidavit of Diligent Search. This document tells the court when and how you attempted to locate your spouse.

From there, you must file an Affidavit for Citation by Publication, a Motion for Citation by Publication, Order on Motion for Citation by Publication, Military Status Declaration, a Certificate of Last Known Address, and a Statement of Evidence. If, after reviewing these documents, the court agrees that your spouse is missing, you will be permitted to serve your spouse by publication.

Despite the foregoing, before filing for divorce, ensure that you comply with Texas residency requirements.

If you are contemplating divorce and have concerns about locating your spouse, contact Kirker Davis LLP to schedule a meeting with an attorney today.

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