I Cannot Find My Spouse in the Middle of My Divorce
Our Pearland, Texas divorce attorney explains how not being able to find a spouse impacts divorce proceedings in Brazoria County.
Making the difficult decision to end your marriage and filing for a divorce in Brazoria County is never easy. While there may be personal issues between you that make any interaction challenging, there are still important matters pertaining to money and property that must be resolved before a final divorce order can be issued. What happens if you cannot find your spouse in the middle of a divorce? Our Pearland TX divorce attorney explains your options.
When a Spouse Cannot be Located During Divorce Proceedings
While some couples facing divorce are able to remain on relatively amicable terms, other cases are more contentious. Your spouse may even attempt to avoid the situation altogether by disappearing either before or after a divorce petition is filed.
When filing for a divorce through the Brazoria County Family Court, you are required to provide legal notice to your spouse, which allows them to respond to your claims and make their own assertions. This can be done either through the local sheriff’s offices or a professional process server and may involve:
- Appearing at their home;
- Going to the business;
- Looking for them at places they frequently visit;
- Searching past addresses or friends and family they may be staying with.
Once formally served with a divorce petition, if they fail to respond within the time limits set the judge can issue a default judgment in your favor. However, proof of service is required. If you are unable to locate them, or if they disappear at some point during your divorce proceedings, you may be entitled to get a divorce by publication.
Divorce By Publication
Procedures for getting a divorce and serving your spouse are listed under the Texas Statutes. In cases where you cannot locate them, a divorce by publication may be an option. Documents needed include:
- Affidavit for Citation by Publication and Diligent Search: This is a notarized statement affirming you are unable to locate your spouse and have exercised due diligence in attempting to locate them.
- Petitioner's Supporting Affidavit for Citation by Publication: This is a notarized statement detailing the efforts made as part of your search.
- Service Members Affidavit: This affirms your spouse is not in the military and therefore is not protected by the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act, which prevents a final divorce order being issued in a service member's absence.
- Statement of Evidence: This details the terms you are seeking in getting a divorce and your requests regarding the division of marital property and assets.
Once the notice is posted in a reputable publication, your spouse has 30 days to respond. If they fail to do so, a final divorce order can be issued in their absence.