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How do i file for a divorce when i don't know the whereabouts of my estranged husband

Albany, GA |

i have been trying to locate my estranged husband for about a year and have no updated information as far as phone number or address, i am wanting to file for a divorce, so how do i go about doin this when his signature is required to finalize the divorce

Attorney Answers 4


  1. His signature is NOT required to finalize the divorce. You have to show "due diligence" in trying to find him. Generally, this is by hiring a private investigator. If you cannot find him after using due diligence, then he can be "served" by publication. This will cost you a little bit of money to do this (whether you hire an attorney or not), however it will get you divorced. I am not sure if Georgia Legal Services can help you with this type of divorce, but you can certainly try.

    Now, if you were to hire an attorney, the attorney will take care of this for you. The attorney will not likely quote you a fee for an uncontested divorce, because this is more technically complicated than an uncontested divocrce. It also involves a court appearance by you and your attorney. Not a very long one, but it is still a court appearance. Hope this helps ... Good luck!

    The information is for general information purposes only. Receipt of this information or e-mail from our website, or other communications should NOT be construed as legal advice for any individual case or situation, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship.


  2. The signature of the defendant is not required to obtain a decree of divorce. What is required is notice of the existence of the petition for divorce to the defendant. This requirement is a due-process requirement of the Constitution. The disappearing defendant problem is so common (especiallly in divorces), every state has well-developed procedures for satisfying the notice requirement. Typically notice can be published when the court is satisfied that personal notice is not possible. Publication is usually accomplished in the county where the decedent was last known to live. If that is an urban area, the cost of publication can be quite high. In order to navigate the service requirement, legal representation will be invaluable. It could even turn out to be less expensive than trying to manage without that help.

    Best wishes for a favorable result, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


  3. As the other attorneys mentioned, you do not need his signature on the actual divorce decree or on an agreement, but you will need to show he has received legal notice of the active divorce filing. He has to receive LEGAL notice, not just that he knows. Legal notice is service by sheriff, private process server or by his notarized signature on an acknowledgment of service.

    In attempting to find him to provide notice, I suggest using an attorney who can perform a postal trace, do a general person search, or help you hire a private investigator to assist your search. You will likely have to attempt service at his last known address, even if this is out of state.Only upon showing theses efforts will a judge approve an notice by publication.

    This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish legal advice or an attorney-client relationship.


  4. Georgia law requires you to make a diligent search for your husband. Typically that will NOT involve a private eye (as one lawyer suggested) although sometimes that might be done. However, it requires a serious effort. At a minimum you need to ask parents and friends, check out his old postal address, call 411, try a people search online, and check things like Facebook. If there are children, file a case with child support recovery. Other steps may be appropriate depending on the facts of your case. Usually having a lawyer helps as he will walk you through this.

    If you find him he may sign papers. Or you may serve him by sheriff. If you don't a judge may allow service by publication in the paper.

    Step one is to see a lawyer.

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