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Can't find bigamous husband to serve him.

Bay Saint Louis, MS |
Filed under: Divorce Bigamy

This is complicated. My husband left many years ago and since then has married at least 3 other women without obtaining a divorce from me. The last I heard he was in Texas but bigamy is just a misdemeanor there. I'm trying to get a divorce here in MS but can't find him anywhere to serve him. What do I do??

Attorney Answers 3


You apply to the court for what is called an "Order of Notice". In this application you indicate that you have made good faith efforts to find the person. The court will then issue an order of notice. This most often requires that you publish a notice in the form that the court will specify, in a certain newspaper a certain number of times before a given date. You follow that order. Then, you file a certificate of compliance, or whatever your jurisdiction may call this, telling the court that you have fully complied with the order of notice. If the person responds, the case proceeds with them in the case. If the person does not respond, then the case proceeds without them. Once you certify to the court that you have fully complied with the order of notice, the court will deem that notice has been given. The case can proceed to a valid final judgment.

While this may sound relatively straightforward, there is always room for error. And, the courts require strict compliance with such procedures. Therefore, my recommendation is that you retain an experienced attorney to do this for you.

I wish you the best with this.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.

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Service can be accomplished by publication. Your attorney should know how to do this.

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With all due respect to the gentlemen who previously answered, you cannot simply publish a notice in the newspaper in Mississippi and consider your husband served. You have to show significant effort on your part to locate your husband. Telling the judge "I cannot find him" will not be enough. Have you inquired of his relatives (if any)? Have you hired a private investigator to try and find him? If you do not know where he is, how do you know he remarried? What proof do you have of that? Have you obtained his marriage certificates from those other marriages?

At this point, and if you really cannot find him, your best grounds for divorce may be desertion (e.g. absent from the state for more than one year without any contact from him). You need to talk to a family law attorney in Hancock County or in Gulfport.

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