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Divorce When You Can’t Find Your Spouse

Goldberg Jones Divorce, Radio Questions, Single Leave a Comment

Everyone knows how complicated divorce can get. You probably think of endless paperwork, multiple court appearances, and a laundry list of other hoops to jump through. But what if you can’t find your spouse? How does that muddy the waters? What options do you have?

The good news is, you do have alternative routes to divorce. The bad news is, you have to put in serious legwork.

Our founding partner, Rick Jones, makes regular appearances on the Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show, where he answers family law questions from listeners. One recent caller wants to divorce her husband. The problem is, she has no idea where he is, how to find him, or what to do in this situation.

Listen to the conversation below:


Caller: “I have an estranged husband who’s an addict. He decided to go use instead. He’s living in a different county and I don’t know where he is. What’s the best way to go about filing for divorce? What do I need to do?” 

Danny: “All right, pay attention. This is interesting.”

Rick:It’s certainly something we’ve talked about before. It comes up quite a bit but it’s really nice to hear the questions again to sort of refresh. Ultimately, you do need to get him served.  Now what that means is, obviously the best option is personal service, being able to have somebody 18 or older that says, ‘I physically handed these documents to him.’ 

“Now the world has gotten a lot easier to be able to find people, so the first step you have to take, you have to, in essence, hire somebody. Hire a PI to say, ‘Take the expected and normal efforts to go locate him.’  Now if they do, great. He’s served, done.  If they can’t [find him], you now have that same person sign a declaration saying, ‘Here’s the attempts I’ve made, the reasonable attempts I’ve made to find him, I can’t.’

“You can then go to the court and seek a ‘motion to serve by publication,’ or to serve by mail if there is an old address that you have. There are all sorts of options to get this done.”

Danny:And by the way, here’s a heads up for everybody out there: When you need a private detective, you think, tens-of-thousands of dollars. But it may only be a few hundred dollars to take a shot at locating a guy. And you can Yelp them. It’s a regular business, you just hire these guys. It’s not the end of the world to need to hire a PI.”

If you have questions about your case or need to speak to a divorce lawyer, contact Goldberg Jones. Our San Diego office is here to help.

Related Reading: I Work, She Doesn’t: Do I Have to Pay Her Legal Fees?

This is the latest installment of our ongoing radio series! Make sure to check back every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 am PST for more!

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