Can I Get Divorced if I Don’t Know Where My Spouse Is?

By September 10, 2017Uncategorized

While many divorces are contentious proceedings, others are completely uncontested. In some cases, a divorce may be uncontested because you and your spouse have amicably separated and are able to reach agreements on all relevant issues. In other cases, though, your spouse seems to have abruptly fallen off the face of the earth. The most difficult aspect of your divorce in this type of situation is legally serving your spouse with notice of the divorce proceedings, which can be no small task if your spouse is nowhere to be found.

Any lawsuit requires that all parties involved receive proper notice of the legal proceedings. The same is true for a divorce in Washington state; you must give your spouse adequate notice of the divorce before the court will finalize your divorce. This requirement is referred to as service of process.

When you know where your spouse lives, service is typically not a difficult task. Your first (and easiest) option for service of process is to have a private process server or the sheriff’s department serve the divorce paperwork on your spouse. If attempts at service in this matter are unsuccessful, then you can petition the court to serve your spouse by sending the paperwork to him or her by certified mail. Of course, these methods of service require that you have some sort of address for your spouse.

In extremely rare situations, where you simply are unable to serve your spouse any other way, you may be able to satisfy the service requirement under Washington law through service by publication. This procedure involves publishing notice of your divorce proceedings in the legal notices section of your local newspaper. Before you can attempt this, you must ask the court’s permission to alter to rules for your particular case. In asking, you must supply the necessary information to the court, or your request will be denied.

No matter what kind of issues may be involved in your divorce, our Washington divorce attorneys can guide you through every step of the court proceedings necessary to finalize your divorce. We are here to answer all of your questions about your divorce case and the outcome that you can expect about all issues related to your divorce. At Ashby Law, we have represented the interests of countless families throughout the divorce process. Contact our office today at (509) 572-3700 or by e-mail at mas@pnwfamily.com and set up a time to talk about your case.

Kate Nelson

Author Kate Nelson

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