What Happens if I Cannot Find My Spouse During Mediation?
Divorces can be frustrating. Having to end your marriage and split everything can be a huge ordeal. It is especially problematic when you cannot find your spouse.
Maybe you two agreed to divorce and try mediation. Your first mediation is scheduled, but your spouse is missing in action. They are nowhere to be found. So, what happens next? Does this mean you cannot proceed with the divorce?
Not at all. There are some additional steps you will need to take, but if you still want to divorce your spouse, you certainly can. Here is what you need to do.
Serve the Papers
Have you filed for divorce yet? Has your spouse been served with papers? If not, then this will be your initial step. You will need to be able to find your spouse to serve them with the divorce papers, so the law requires that you do your due diligence first. This means you need to search as hard as you can.
Did your spouse live somewhere else? Where did they last work? Contact their friends and family to see if they can give you insight into your spouse’s whereabouts.
The internet can also be a valuable tool. Do a Google search. Check criminal databases, public court records, or the Department of Motor Vehicles. Using a private investigator can also be a good option, although they can be expensive. Check with your lawyer. They often have tools that can help locate people. Make sure to document all the actions you took so you can move on to the next step.
Serve By Publication
If you have tried your best to locate your spouse, the court may approve you for the next step, which is service by publication. This means you will need to publish notice of the divorce in an acceptable publication, such as a local newspaper or another news source in the area. You can also serve by posting, which means the notice could be displayed electronically on an electronic kiosk or public information website. While these actions do not really work that well, they are required by law.
Motion for Default
If you still cannot find your spouse, the next step is to file a motion for default. This shows you
did everything you could to serve your spouse, with no results. Your spouse is now in default, and you are requesting a judgment in your favor. Typically, this means that you will likely get everything you asked for in the divorce petition since your spouse is not here to argue with you. All property division and child custody matters can be finalized.
Contact Our Pearland Divorce Lawyer Today
It can be a frustrating situation when you desire to divorce but your spouse abandons you. What happens next? How will your divorce be affected?
Pearland divorce lawyer John Powell III, P.C., provides legal help to those dealing with the complexities of divorce. Contact us today for compassionate representation. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (281) 747-6346.