Does it matter how long you are separated before you divorce? And can someone divorce you without your knowledge?

Asked over 1 year ago - Toledo, OH

My husband got a job out of state in march 2012. He was staying with his brother while he was out there. I stayed in the house that we were renting. We have an 18 year old daughter who graduated in June and she started college in September 2012 where she is living on campus. We kept the house until September and i stayed and packed the house up. At the time, the plan was for me to put everything into storage and to go to work for my husband. But then he decided that he wanted a divorce. He was suppose to help me get an apartment and send me money, which he has not done. We have been married for eighteen yrs and we were together 5 years before we got married. I am living with my mom at this time. And he has not given me any money since November of 2012.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Brian Scott Piper

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . No. It does not matter how long you are separated before a divorce is filed. It can happen that someone can divorce you without your knowledge, but it is not supposed to work that way. Generally, it is necessary that you receive actual notice of the divorce suit. However if the plaintiff submits an affidavit indicating they have no knowledge of your whereabouts, and that they have made a diligent effort to locate your whereabouts, then service for the divorce can be made by publication. In that case, the defendant may not receive actual notice of the divorce.

    I recommend that you contact a family law attorney immediately and discuss your options. The length of your marriage is moderate to long, which means that depending upon earning ability and additional factors, spousal support is definitely a factor for consideration. The longer you allow the situation to remain without addressing it, the more potential there is for the "unknown divorce action" to be initiated in the state where your husband moved to.

    IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: Mr. Piper's response set forth above is not legal advice and it does not create an... more
  2. Peter Stephen Kirner

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . No, it does not matter how long you have been separated, nor is their a requirement of any length of time to be separated. You cannot get a divorce with out the other person knowing. There is a requirement called service. However, should you not know where someone is, if you try to find them, you can then do service by publication. The other person may never have actual knowledge of this proceeding but ONLY the divorce would be granted. There would be no division of assets, as the court would not have personal jurisdiction. I am not sure what you seek to do, or what you are afraid of happening, but you should consult with an attorney so that you are protected. Good luck.

    The above information is not, nor intend to be, legal advice. You SHOULD consult an attorney for specific advice... more
  3. David Jay Sternberg

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . I agree with the two prior answers, but would add that if you live separate and apart without cohabitation for one year that is grounds for divorce in Ohio.

    Attorney Sternberg is admitted to the practice of law only in the State of Ohio. His answering of this question... more
  4. Timothy Dale McKinzie

    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . I agree with the other answers but would only add that if your husband did obtain a divorce in another jurisdiction by publication and not by actual service of process, then so long as you could prove that he did in fact know where you were located while he was representing that he did not, any decree of divorce could probably be set aside for fraud. You still need to get a lawyer right away who can get an order for temporary support with wage witholding.

Related Topics


Divorce is the process of formally ending a marriage. Divorces may be jointly agreed upon, resolved by negotiation, or decided in court.

Deciding between a Divorce and a Legal Separation

A legal separation and a divorce are different because a separation does not end the marriage. Spouses live apart and remain married.

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