Skip to main content

I live in New Jersey and I haven't seen my wife in 17 years. I want to divorce her so I can move on with my life.

Newark, NJ |

Her last whereabouts were in New York.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 6

Best Answer

When you file your petition for divorce with the court, since your wife's whereabouts are unknown (somewhere in NY), she can be served by publication. Service by publication is running the notice of your divorce petition in the legal notices section of the newspaper. The amount of time the notice has to run for it to be valid service by publication varies from state to state. The court clerk at the court where you file your petition for divorce can tell you how long the notice has to run in the newspaper for it to be valid service by publication. Even if your wife never sees the notice in the newspaper, it is still valid service by publication. If you need anything additional feel free to contact my office anytime at 732-797-2400.


You may need to serve her through publication. Remaining married to her may hold you liable for certain things and be against your best interest. You will have to deal with this sooner or later. You may as well start. Ow.

Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.


Serving your wife with the divorce papers is going to be the difficult part. My contact information is on my profile if you wish to discuss this matter further.

DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State where this charge is filed. I am an attorney licensed to practice in the State of New Jersey. Consult a local attorney if your case arises outside the State of New Jersey. If you found this answer to be HELPFUL then you can vote that this answer was helpful. If you found this answer to be the BEST ANSWER of all those presented, then you can vote that this answer was the best answer presented.


Just contact my office and we can file a divorce complaint for you and end your marriage even if you don't know where she currently is living.


Contact me to file a complaint. In the event you do not know your spouse's address, we can still file. I look forward to hearing from you!


I'm very surprised that none of the other answers indicated what will be involved. If you can't locate her, you will need to file a motion and obtain a judge's permission before you can proceed via publication.

It can be tricky, and many judges have different standards for the hoops you'll have to jump through to provide you diligently tried to locate her. When the judge approves it, you'll publish a notice in the newspaper and that will be considered "service" of the complaint.

It's probably easier and quicker to do this through counsel - it shouldn't cost much if the terms are uncontested and if there are no issues.

To make the job easier for the attorney (and therefore cheaper for you), do your "homework" now on locating her - ask relatives (in writing and email), run internet searches, etc... do everything you can to prove you tried to find her. As I said, different judges require different things to prove you exhausted all efforts before they'll let you proceed via publication.

You don't have to hire a lawyer to do this - there are sample forms on the judiciary's website: . Only you can weigh out the cost versus the time and emotional cost of proceeding yourself. You will need to "do this right", especially if you've obtained any assets (including retirement accounts) over the last 17 years.

IF YOU LIKE THIS ANSWER AND APPRECIATE THE TIME IT TOOK TO WRITE IT, PLEASE SELECT IT AS "BEST ANSWER." Thanks. The above is said without seeing your case file and without my understanding the entirety of the facts of your case. Depending on those facts, the above information be may incomplete or may be completely inaccurate. The above is intended as general information only based on what you described and not as legal advice. I advise you to consult with counsel who may be able to provide better information commensurate with a better understanding of your situation.

Yolanda Navarrete

Yolanda Navarrete


David is right. I stand corrected. It has been about 8 years since I had to do a motion through publication.