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Filing for divorce in Indiana when your spouse is missing

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2023 | Family Law

Divorce is often a complex and emotional process. It becomes even more challenging when you cannot locate your spouse. However, being unable to find your spouse does not prevent you from seeking a divorce.

In Indiana, there are specific procedures to follow if you wish to file for divorce but cannot locate your spouse.

Understanding divorce by publication

If you do not know where your spouse is, the court can allow you to file for a divorce by publication. This type of divorce happens when you publish a notice of your intent to divorce in a local newspaper. This notice serves to inform your missing spouse about the divorce proceedings.

Filing a divorce petition

The first step in any divorce process is to file a petition for divorce with the court. In this document, you state your intention to divorce and provide as much information as possible about your spouse, including their last known address.

Showing diligent search

Before you can proceed with a divorce by publication, the court requires you to make a diligent search for your spouse. This could include contacting friends and family, checking with their last known employer or searching online.

Publishing the notice

Once the court agrees that your search is sincere and your spouse is missing, you can publish a notice in a local newspaper. This notice must run for a certain period, and if your spouse does not respond within a given time, the court may allow the divorce to proceed.

Proceeding with the divorce

After the notice period expires without any response from your spouse, you can ask the court to allow the divorce to proceed. The court may issue a default judgment, granting the divorce and ruling on issues such as property division.

A divorce by publication should be a last resort when you have exhausted all other means of locating your spouse. While it can be a lengthy and complex process, understanding the steps can help you get through it more easily.