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How much would it cost to get a divorce if I cannot find my husband?

Jacksonville, NC |

I waited a whole year since he left, now I want a divorce. I haven't been able to find him.

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Attorney answers 5


The issue of price would best be left to a lawyer practicing in your area.

However, most states have procedural hurdles for "serving" parties via publication (e.g., by listing the lawsuit in a widely circulated newspaper, etc), so your not being able to find him should not serve as a deterrent to you being able to file for divorce. A lawyer in your area will be able to give you specifics.

Also, it is astonishing how easy it has become to find "missing persons" these days, given the widespread use of the internet. You might talk to an investigator in your area, or even do some online searches yourself to try to locate his whereabouts (I have found many parties on Facebook or Myspace in the last few years, making personal service much easier for my clients). Good luck.

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 Arkansas. Responses are based solely on Arkansas law unless stated otherwise.


Your cost will probably be driven by the cost of trying to locate your husband, doing the due diligence to try to locate him and then after efforts of not doing so, then asking the court to publish the Petition for divorce by publication in the local newspaper. You will need to pay court fees if your court system does not have court fee waiver provision.


You can get a divorce using publication as a service method in most of the US. You need to be sure you have performed a diligent search for your missing spouse. Although you can get a divorce, you can not determine custody of children, child support or other issues concerning marital assets. You need to seek local legal representation to determine cost and availabillity of publication service in your area. Good luck.


Most attorneys that practice in this area have access to public record databases that enable them to locate folks. If that doesn't work, you will have to serve him by publication. Most papers charge a signficant amount for this service as they have to issue an affidavit after the ad has run. I would count on adding around $500 to the normal cost of the divorce. Once the service time has run, you can have your divorce whether he responds or not.


Many attorneys in NC will help you file for an "Absolute Divorce" once you have met the one year separation requirement, and you have resided in NC for at least 6 months. If you do not know where your spouse is located, you will have to serve him via publication. Contact the local newspaper in your area to see how much they charge for this service. In Wake County, the News & Observer charges $300-400 to place an ad that will meet the requirements of the statute. The legal fees charged by the attorney are separate (and vary by attorney), and you will also have to pay a filing fee in the county where you reside.

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