If you are filing for a divorce but cannot locate your spouse, it may first seem like you will be unable to begin the process. Luckily, this is not the case. If you can’t locate your spouse to have your divorce papers served to them, there is an alternative route you can take through the Illinois divorce courts. This complication can be frustrating and discouraging, but although it may take a bit longer before moving forward with the official divorce, there are specific regulations in Illinois divorce law that address this problem. Read more below about different circumstances of a missing spouse, and how Illinois handles them in lieu of issuing a summons directly to them.
How Do I Divorce a Missing Spouse?
If you are unable to locate your spouse to have divorce papers served to them in Illinois, the courts will still allow you proceed after you have followed a series of steps to prove that they have disappeared. Nearly all divorces can be complicated, but when you are unable to locate your spouse, they become especially tricky. It will be especially helpful for you to contact a divorce attorney in Schaumburg, Illinois for this process.
Searching For a Missing Spouse
First, you must make a concerted effort to locate your spouse on your own. This means contacting their friends and family, last known employer, and even hiring a private detective to find their location. If this does not bring about results, you may then move on to the next step. It is important that you or your attorney understand divorce law in Schaumburg Illinois, and that you are completely clear on your requirements through this process. If you follow every step exactly as the courts require, then it will make your final divorce hearings a lot easier while you prove that your spouse is truly missing.
Service and Divorce by Publication
Once you have satisfied the courts in the search for your missing spouse, you will then move on to Service and Divorce by Publication. This means that you will provide a notice and information about the divorce in local newspapers that the missing spouse is likely to read. After publication, there will be a period of time that you must wait to see if your spouse makes contact with the courts to acknowledge the divorce. During this time, you will not be able to make any additional progress in your divorce, but it is an important step to take in order to be granted a divorce in your spouse’s absence. Be sure that this publication is made in your spouse’s last known location, or in a newspaper that you know they read.
Divorce Process Without Finding Your Spouse
If your missing spouse does not come forward during the prescribed period of time, the court may approve the divorce in your favor. However, although your divorce will be approved and finalized, you will not be able to settle issues like child support, alimony, or asset distribution. These will require locating your spouse no matter what, and will remain pending until you are able to do so. With the help of an experienced divorce attorney, they will be able to work with you in order to identify the best possible next steps in this case, and help to find ways that you can move on with your life after this process.