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.
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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.
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