Can I get a divorce if I can’t locate my spouse?

Questions?Category: QuestionsCan I get a divorce if I can’t locate my spouse?
txdivorce Staff asked 6 months ago

We are often asked about a common scenario: one spouse wants to file a divorce Texas, but does not know where the other spouse is located.

1 Answers
txdivorce Staff answered 6 months ago

Yes, you can get a divorce in this situation, but it requires a little extra work that is best completed by an attorney. When the petitioner (the spouse who files the petition for divorce) cannot communicate with or locate the respondent spouse, the major issue is going to be notice.

Texas law requires the petitioner to give notice of the divorce to the respondent. In a normal situation, the respondent would simply sign a waiver of service after receiving a copy of the previously filed petition. If the respondent refuses to sign a waiver, the petitioner would hire the constable to hand deliver a copy of the petition and report back to the court once delivered.

When the petitioner is unable to locate the respondent, the petitioner will need to get approval from the court to give notice in an alternative fashion (i.e. publication in a newspaper).

After the alternative notice is given (i.e. published in the paper) the respondent will either (1) contest your request for divorce (contested divorce); (2) agree to the divorce (uncontested divorce); or (3) fail to contest/respond to the divorce (divorce by default judgment).

Disclaimer: TXDivorce.org is not a law firm and our responses are not a substitute for legal advice. You should not take anything contained in this response or published on this website to be legal advice about your specific situation or make any decisions based on this response.