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Can you get a divorce if you don't know where your spouse is?

The U.S. legal system has many arcane-sounding terms that, if they are boiled down to their basic meaning, aren't a complicated as they first seem. One example of this is the concept of "service." All service really means is letting the other party know, in some official manner, that there is a lawsuit being filed, where it has been filed and what is being claimed. In most civil cases, like the beginning of a divorce, the petition and some other required paperwork is "served," or given, to the other party by a sheriff or private process serving company. But, what happens in Georgia if you don't know where your spouse is?

The law contemplates this situation, and it has a remedy for it: notice by publication. This basically means that if you can't find your spouse, you can still proceed with your divorce case by publicizing the fact that you have filed a petition. There are some steps that must be taken to do this, however.

The first thing you must do in such a situation is file an affidavit with the court that says that you don't know where your spouse is, and that you attempted to find him or her using reasonable diligence. You must also give the court the last known address of the person. Then, the court may grant your motion for service by publication. You would run an advertisement in the newspaper for four consecutive weeks. If your spouse does not officially file an answer with the court, the judge has the ability to grant the divorce any time after 60 days have passed since the publication of the first advertisement.

While the basic concepts of many legal procedures are simple, their application often isn't There can be many complicating factors involved in the legal process. This is why many people filing a divorce, especially when a spouse is missing, choose to contact a Georgia family attorney.

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