If i am separated for 5 years in the state of maryland can i get a divorce without serving papers

Asked almost 2 years ago - Ellicott City, MD

cant located wife to serve papers

Attorney answers (4)

  1. David Raymond Mahood


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You can get a divorce without serving papers personally on the defendant when the defendant is nowhere to be found. The court procedure for accomplishing this is difficult and I recommend you hire an attorney to handle this. You may reach me at (410) 381-1656. I would be pleased to assist you. David Mahood, Esq.

    This answer is NOT legal advice and is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY and does NOT establish an Attorney/Client... more
  2. Ian Thomas Valkenet


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Mr. Mahood is correct. Service of process is mandatory unless you can adequately prove to the court that your spouse has absconded and cannot be located after a diligent search. Otherwise, your spouse is entitled to due process, which requires service that is reasonably tailored to give notice.

  3. Thomas E Mulinazzi


    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . Yes, you must serve your spouse regardless of how long you have lived separate and apart. The purpose of this is to show the Court that the other side has actual notice of the divorce. Our office
    has resources that can help you find your spouse in order to serve him/her. We have been very successful at finding spouses who haven't been seen nor heard from in many years.

    While Mr. Mahood is correct that there is a procedure for moving forward without serving the other side, the Court requires you to make substantial and varied efforts to find your spouse first before the alternate service procedure can commence. In your case you will need to speak with an attorney to make sure this is handling correctly and efficiently. Our offices are located in Howard County and we would be happy to speak with you further. (410) 290-6270.

  4. Edouard Jean-Pierre Bouquet


    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . No a divorce is not available without serving a summons and complaint. However, you can seek leave of the Court to serve by publication in a local newspaper of general circulation or by posting. This will require that you file a motion with the Court setting forth the efforts that you have made to achieve service on your spouse. If the Court deems them sufficient, then you will be granted to leave to serve her by one of these alternative methods. It is not complicated to file although the Courts can be very particular about the details and form used. There are generally models available on-line or at the courthouse in your jurisdiction if you choose to do this withot a lawyer, although I do not recommend that you do this on your own. You may find it pretty frustrating.

Related Topics


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

Alternatives to divorce

Divorce is not the only solution to marital difficulties. Marriage counseling, legal separation, or annulment are other alternatives.

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