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Can I file for divorce if I do not know where my spouse is? Will it be granted without his signature?

Carrollton, GA |

He asked for a divorce and once I had the papers drawn up he moved so I don't know where he is. We have been separated for over 7 years.

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Filed under: Divorce Child support
Attorney answers 5


Your divorce can be granted without knowing where he is but you still have to perfect service on him. You should work with a lawyer on this who can help you make sure that you have met all of the requirements. You will need to prepare a statement showing your diligent search to find him. You will then need a Judge to sign an Order allowing for service by publication which means that you must have an ad run in the local paper -- each Court has a specific paper through which they publish legal advertisements -- for 4 consecutive weeks. You must then file the newspapers Publisher's affidavit before being able to finalize your divorce. I recommend you work with an attorney on this. It will be worth the money to ensure that it is done properly without causing any additional delay.


If you file the divorce, you can ask that he be served by publication. The Judge will have to grant such request, and will need to see that you have made a diligent search to try and find and serve him personally through other means. If the Judge grants an application to serve him by publication, you will have to run a specific notice in the newspaper and wait a specified time for him to respond. If he does not, you can set a hearing to finalize the divorce. As there are certain things that certain Judges will require to be shown before granting service by publication, I highly recommend hiring an attorney in the area where your case would be filed to make sure this is done correctly.

The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base your important decisions, please contact our office directly for a free phone or in person consultation. Robert M. Gardner, Jr. Hicks, Massey & Gardner, LLP EMAIL:, OFFICES: 53 W. Candler St., Winder, Ga. 30680, 106 Washington Street, Jefferson, Ga. 30549, Or 718 Oak St. Gainesville, Georgia. PHONE: (770) 307-4899 or (770) 538-0555 serving metro Atlanta and all of Northeast Georgia Bankruptcy, Divorce, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Adoption, Civil and Criminal Litigation


I agree with my colleagues answer. You still need to show you have tried to serve but publication under the rules of your state must be accomplished

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You should obtain an Avvo attorney in your jurisdiction. All states have procedures whereby you can obtain a divorce even if the spouse is "missing". You will have an obligation to attempt to locate him. I would advise that in this day and age of technology, it is very difficult for someone to conceal his whereabouts. Good luck to you.

Tami L. Augen Rhodes

This answer is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for your particular case nor is it intended as legal advice. I have not reviewed your case nor have I met with you and the answer to this question does not in any manner whatsoever establish an attorney/client relationship.


If you can show the court that you have made a dilligent search to locate him, the court can allow service by publication. The steps to a dillingent search are fact dependent and I'd be glad to discuss details with you as to what needs to be done if you will call me. A case by publication usually will be completed in about three months. The steps to a search can include the internet, mailing and phoning the defendant, calling friends and family, using child support recovery if there are children, etc. Those must be done properly to get a judge to allow published service.

ATTORNEY GLEN ASHMAN 404-768-3509 . If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. Note that I am only licensed in Georgia and thus cannot practice in other states. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.

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