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My Spouse Went Missing. Can I Still Get Divorced in Illinois? 

 Posted on December 09, 2021 in Divorce

wheaton divorce lawyerWhen a married couple decides to end their relationship, one party may file for divorce. But an important part of getting divorced is being able to serve a spouse divorce papers - and if a spouse has decided to simply walk out without formally ending the relationship, serving papers can be difficult. Whether due to a criminal history, a desire to dodge child support obligations, or simply to try to start over again, some people disappear and cannot be located. 

If you want to get a divorce and cannot find or contact your spouse, you are not consigned to a lifetime of marriage to a missing person. Instead, with the help of an experienced divorce attorney, you can take steps to end your marriage - even without your spouse’s cooperation. 

Divorce by Publication

When one spouse is missing and the other spouse wants to get divorced, Illinois law provides an option called “divorce by publication.” Divorce by publication is only an option after a judge from an Illinois family court is convinced that the spouse filing for divorce truly cannot locate the missing spouse. The spouse filing for divorce is responsible for proving that he or she looked extensively for their spouse. This may be done using the following strategies, keeping accurate records for evidence: 

  • Trying to service divorce papers at a spouse’s most recent residence

  • Trying to contact a spouse by calling, texting, emailing, sending letters, or sending messages on social media 

  • Contacting a spouse’s past or current employers 

  • Contacting a spouse’s family, friends, coworkers, and anyone else who may know their whereabouts

  • Posting missing person notices in public locations, such as notice boards, newspapers, telephone poles, or on social media

  • Searching multiple data resources, including search engines, arrest records, hospital stays, obituaries, military databases, and any other resource that may shed light on a spouse’s whereabouts 

How Does a Missing Spouse Affect Divorce Proceedings? 

If a spouse cannot be located, this may affect the entire divorce process. Although the spouse filing for divorce may never recover spousal or child support, he or she may be given full parental responsibilities and parenting time. Furthermore, if there is any marital property, the spouse filing for divorce may receive ownership of marital assets but also be given responsibility for marital debts. 

Meet with a DuPage County Divorce by Publication Attorney

Getting divorced with a missing or uncooperative spouse makes an already difficult process even more of a headache. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate this process alone - an experienced Wheaton, IL divorce lawyer with The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. can help. We can advise you throughout the process, ensure no paperwork is missing, and help your divorce move as quickly and smoothly as possible. To find out more, call our offices today at 630-462-9500 to schedule a confidential consultation. 






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