What if you want to get divorced but no longer know where your spouse lives? Sometimes couples separate for many years or someone leaves without notice, leaving you unable to serve them a copy of the divorce filing and Summons as required by law.
Good news: As long as you are a Missouri resident, you can still get divorced even if you don’t know how to find your spouse. Here’s how:
Here are some suggestions about what to include in your Affidavit and steps to take to show “sufficient efforts”:
The notice of the divorce must be published in a local legal publication (i.e. Missouri Lawyers Weekly) or newspaper for a period of four consecutive weeks. The missing spouse has 45 days to respond from the date of the publication. If no response is filed by the missing spouse, then they are deemed to be served, and a default divorce proceeding can then occur.
It is very important to understand that the only thing the court can do is dissolve the marriage. In cases where there are children in common with the missing spouse, the Court can award custody if jurisdiction over the children is proper. The court cannot divide property, award spousal support, child support, attorney fees, or any other money judgment.
For more information, visit https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=3478.
With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. For questions or to schedule a confidential consultation, contact our team today.
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