How Do I Get Divorced If I Don’t Know Where My Spouse Is?

Goldberg Jones Divorce 4 Comments

Collaborative divorce, mediation, do-it-yourself divorce, and high conflict divorce can all be complicated and stressful. But what if you want a divorce and you have no idea where your spouse is living? Is a divorce possible if you can’t find your wife?

How do I divorce my spouse if they are MIA?

Fortunately there are options for those seeking to divorce an unlocatable spouse. To divorce your unlocatable spouse in Washington State, you will first need to initiate a case with the courts.

Once the case has been filed, you will need to do due diligence in attempting to locate your spouse.

This may mean hiring a private investigator or documenting evidence that establishes your good faith attempt to contact your spouse.

Motion to Serve by Publication

When sufficient evidence has been collected and the spouse has still not been located,  you will be able to return to the court and file a “Motion to Serve by Publication”.  A Motion to Serve by Publication must be approved by the courts for the service to be valid.

Once the Motion to Serve by Publication has been granted, public notice of the case will need to be published in an acceptable outlet—local newspapers often have a section dedicated to legal notices.

After the service has been published, and still received no response, the divorce can be moved forward by filing a “Motion for Default.

Motion For Default

A Motion for Default in Washington State often means that the filing party will be granted everything they have requested in the original divorce petition.

Working with an attorney can be invaluable if you are trying to divorce your spouse, but are unable to find them. An experienced family law attorney will ensure the case is handled thoroughly, accurately, and efficiently.

For more information about divorcing your unlocatable spouse, watch the video below.
Related Reading: How Do I File For Divorce In Washington?
Related Reading: My Ex Won’t Follow The Divorce Agreement
Related Reading: Jurisdiction: Where You File For Divorce Matters

flag photo credit: Mike Gonzales CC BY-SA 3.0

Comments 4

  1. My spouse is somewhere in Germany last I heard. We have been separated for 19 years and I have made 2 attempts to get a divorce. I am not sure what to do.

    1. Post

      That’s a tough situation, Tammy, thanks for reaching out. It’s a lot to get into here, but I passed your contact information along to our managing attorney, Ken Alan, and he should reach out to you with some ideas of how to proceed. Thanks!

    1. Post

      Hi Michael, thanks for reaching out. There’s quite a bit that goes into this. It can be tricky. I passed your contact information along to Ken Alan, our managing attorney. He will contact you soon and let you know how to begin the process.

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