Divorce is not often an easy process, whether that be due to emotions or legal processes. It is challenging to end a marriage, to admit defeat, or give up on something you spent so much time committing to and building. While the divorce process is hard in general, it can be made more complex if couples are not on the same page.
When one spouse is not ready to throw in the towel on their marriage, it can lead to irrational and illogical behavior. One common challenge occurs when one spouse disappears, incorrectly assuming that their absence will make divorce impossible. In truth, the justice system has no interest in forcing two people to stay together, especially when at least one so clearly wants out of the marriage.
Dealing With an Absent Spouse
While the absence of a spouse is not enough to end divorce proceedings, it is enough to delay them. Part of filing for divorce involves informing your spouse of your intent, which is difficult, if not impossible, when they are actively hiding from you. When a spouse is actively avoiding acceptance and confirmation of divorce proceedings, a judge may offer a few solutions: hire a process server, serve a close relative, or announce the divorce in a local publication.
Hiring a process server is the method favored by most people because it often gets results. These professionals are used to finding people who do not want to be found. They will likely find your spouse and obtain evidence for the receipt of the documents.
Judges do not often favor announcing or serving legal paperwork to a close relative or roommate. However, they do understand that it may be the only option, often saving it as a last resort.
Finally, some courts will allow you to publish the divorce announcement in a local newspaper or publication. However, most judges prefer trying to notify the spouse using a process server or private detective before allowing such actions.
Consequences of an Absent Spouse
Thankfully, if you cannot find your spouse and they never show up, the divorce can continue without much issue. The court will typically rule in your favor, adhering to the information you provided in your application. Your spouse essentially gives up their rights or wants by ignoring and avoiding the process.
Divorce is challenging, both emotionally and legally, but it does not require active participation from both parties. If you have more questions, contact a local divorce attorney.