Getting a Simple Divorce When Your Spouse’s Whereabouts Are Unknown

If after reasonable diligence you are unable to locate your spouse, it remains possible to have them served with legal process for divorce.  The court must consider an affidavit from the spouse seeking the divorce, or his or her attorney, that describes the due diligence before authorizing “Citation by Publication.”

As described in Family Code Section 6.409, Citation by Publication in a divorce suit with no children an no appreciable property occurs by posting notice on the courthouse door for a minimum of seven days.  If the missing spouse does not file an answer in response to the notice (which rarely occurs), the court normally must appoint an attorney (called an “attorney ad litem”) to represent the interests of the missing spouse.  If, however, the spouse petitioning the court for divorce, or his or her attorney, files an additional affidavit under oath with the court stating that there are no minor children and no appreciable property, the court may dispense with the appointment of an attorney ad litem.  This helps save significant time and cost for the spouse/petitioner.

As in every other divorce, the court cannot grant the divorce until a minimum of 60 days have elapsed since the filing of the original petition.  Other requirements may apply depending on the specific facts of your situation.  Speak with a qualified divorce attorney to see if this quick and convenient route might be available to you.

Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and the founder and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm, PLLC.  The firm provides a spectrum of family law-related services to clients in the greater San Antonio region, across the United States and throughout the world.  The firms also provides Wills and Estates and Probate services.