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How can I divorce a deported spouse, who I do not have any contact with?

Bend, OR |

I got married in 2009, and we have no children or any real property. My spouse was deported in 2010 and I no longer have contact with him or know of his where abouts. I live in Oregon. Is there a special procedure to this matter?

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Attorney answers 3


You will need to proceed through the courts. The court will provide you with specifics as to the type of notice you need to provide to your spouse (for example, notice by publication) regarding your filing for divorce. In answer to your question, you will be able to obtain a divorce, but it may take a little longer to accomplish the process given the fact that your spouse's whereabouts are unknown. Good luck.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


In order to divorce someone, you need to file a petition with the court, and serve it upon them. If you don't know where they are, that's obviously difficult. In such a case, the court may allow you to serve the other party by publication. This is how it works:

You must first make reasonable efforts to find them by other means - contacting relatives or old friends, anything you can do. Document your efforts. When that doesn't work, you file a motion with the court allow alternative service. You'll have to show that you tried everything else first - this is why you'll be keeping track of other attempts, so you can tell a judge that you did it.

If the court allows it, then you'll take out an advertisement in the back of a newspaper in the last area you lived in together (or, if you know it, in the area that they live in now). Once the advertisement runs for a month, they'll be deemed to have been served. If they don't file a reply within another month (as they almost certainly won't - I mean, who reads the back ads in newspapers for divorce announcements?), then you can get a default judgment, and you'll be divorced.

Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:

Diane L Gruber

Diane L Gruber


Mr. Bodzin is correct. I have handled this kind of "service" a number of times. Each county has a little bit different rules about what constitutes "reasonable attempts" to personally serve. You need an attorney who is familiar with the rules in that court, with those judges. Good luck.


Even though you are in Bend and I am in West Linn, give me a call. I can help you with this.

Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.