Despite popular belief, it is possible to get a divorce if you don’t know where your spouse lives. This process is called Divorce by Publication, and it isn’t easy. Divorce by Publication is a long and tedious process, and you should not proceed without an attorney.
An Overview of Divorce by Publication
This kind of divorce is necessary if your spouse has abandoned you, and you do not know where they live. Typically, your spouse would need to be personally served with a Summons after you initiate a divorce action, which is not possible if you are unaware of where they reside.
The divorce by publication process has a few intricate steps that must followed:
- Performing a diligent search for your spouse;
- Drafting and filing appropriate documents with the court;
- Appearing before a Judge and getting permission to proceed with a divorce by publication;
- Publishing your notice in an appropriate newspaper, and filing your final divorce documents.
Performing a Diligent Search
Before you can petition the court for a divorce by publication, you must thoroughly search for your spouse. The following agencies must be searched:
- United States Military;
- NYC Board of Elections and Telephone Directories (for all 5 boroughs);
- New York DMV and the U.S. Postal Service;
- Internet search with result reports;
- A visit to your spouse’s last known address.
Court Procedure and Publication
You will need to proceed with drafting and filing documents in court if you are unable to locate your spouse during your search. Work with your attorney to prepare an Affidavit of Plaintiff, your search results, and a sample of the Summons with Notice that you wish to publish. You will also need to submit a copy of your divorce papers.
Once the court grants your request, you may publish your Summons with Notice or Verified Complaint in a newspaper. You will select a newspaper that is circulated in the area where your spouse was last believed to live. Many plaintiffs publish their Summons in the New York Law Journal, as well.
You must publish your Summons once a week, for three weeks, with the first publication date being within 30 days of court approval. After the three weeks is completed, you need to file an Affidavit of Service within 20 days. If your spouse does not see the publication, or fails to respond within 30 days, then you can proceed with your divorce.
The Downside of Divorce by Publication
Divorce by publication is costly and time consuming. In addition to traditional costs associated with a divorce, you will need to hire a private investigator, pay agency fees, and pay to have your Summons published.
A divorce by publication should be your last resort, and should only be considered after all of your other options have been exhausted. Given the intricate nature of this kind of proceeding, it is crucial that you hire a reputable and experienced divorce attorney.
For more information on divorce proceedings in New York City, contact the law firm of Brian D. Perksin & Associates P.C. at 718-875-7584 today!