More often than you might think, spouses who are living separate and apart from one another might not be keeping track of the other spouse’s whereabouts. This is particularly true when there are no minor children from the marriage, and there is no reason for the spouses to be in contact. Yet losing track of your spouse can make your divorce case more complicated. If you do not know where your spouse lives, and you do not know how to contact your spouse, can you still file for and get a divorce? This question does arise more often than you might expect, and the inability to find your spouse can make it quite difficult to serve divorce papers and to move forward with your case.
Yet, we want to emphasize that you should never assume you cannot get divorced because you cannot find your spouse. While your case might take a bit more time and effort and additional steps and paperwork, you can certainly still file for divorce. Our Michigan divorce attorneys will explain in more detail.
You Will Need to Make a Good Faith and Diligent Effort to Locate Your Spouse
In order for your spouse to be served with divorce papers under Michigan law and to get the divorce case moving, you will need to know where your spouse can be located (at his or her residence, at work, or at another location). Yet sometimes, a spouse has no idea how to locate the other spouse and cannot find that spouse even after making inquiries. Generally speaking, in order to file for divorce and move forward with your case when you cannot find your spouse, Michigan law requires a spouse who wants to file for divorce to make a good faith and diligent effort to locate the other spouse.
What is a diligent effort? The following are steps that the court may expect you to take:
- Make inquiries with friends, relatives, former neighbors, acquaintances, and co-workers about your spouse’s whereabouts;
- Inquire with your spouse’s last known employer about your spouse’s current location (including information about a new employer or new location);
- Search phone book and property records in the location where your spouse last lived and in the area where you believe your spouse currently lives;
- Inquire with the post office where you know your spouse last lived about an existing forwarding address;
- Research property tax records in your spouse’s name;
- Research auto registrations in your spouse’s name; and
- Run an internet search to look for information about your spouse’s current location.
Once you have conducted a diligent search, you will need to have an Affidavit of Diligent Search showing that you have made a good faith effort to locate your spouse. Once this is complete, you can work with your divorce attorney to move forward with your case.
Contact Our Michigan Divorce Attorneys
If you want to file for divorce but cannot track down your spouse, one of our Michigan divorce lawyers can help you with your case. We can assist you with a good faith effort to locate your spouse, and we can walk you through the follow-up steps that are necessary to move forward with your divorce case. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today to get started.