First of all, if you find yourself in the predicament of wanting to get a divorce but not knowing where your spouse lives you are not a lone.
At Divorce661, we have many clients who call us and say this exact thing. Usually, it is due to a long term separation where they just lost communication with each other.
Sometimes they are short marriages, perhaps a Vegas style marriage, and then they lost touch and other times it is spouses married 20 plus years who separated and started living apart and then, what do you know 10 years went by.
It happens more than you think so if this is what happened to you, don’t feel like you are the only one.
But here is the deal. You are going to have to find out where your spouse is if you want to get a divorce in California.
Yes, there are ways of asking the court to “publish” your divorce case and avoid actually serving them, however the barrier to getting the approval from the court to do that is often a long process and one which where if you do all the things the court will require you to do to approve the “service by publication” you will likely find them anyways.
In my opinion it is best to just spend the time to locate them. This is for several reasons. First, when trying to publish your divorce, the court is going to make you jump through all kinds of hoops. They are going to make you call all the numbers you have for your spouse, their relatives, send letters to old addresses, call family members, check social media, even hire a private investigator.
By the time you have done all of this, you might as well have actually done the work to locate them.
Then, once you do all the things the court will require for you to locate them, you have to file a petition with the court to show all the things you did and only after they approve your efforts can you file by publication.
Then you have to publish your divorce in a local newspaper where they last lived which at a minimum will cost $2oo. ( that is the cheapest we have found for LA County)
Then, once it has been published in the paper, you can consider them served.
This process adds at a minimum, 3 months to the California divorce process, usually longer and is more costly.
So my advice is to just do the work to locate your spouse for your divorce. It is much faster and less expensive than trying to serve your divorce by publication.
I get a lot of calls where people have done some research online and don’t want to go to the trouble of contacting their spouse and think the service by publication is the answer.
Well, it is not.
Locate your spouse so we can properly serve and finalize your divorce. At the end of the day it will make the California divorce process faster and less expensive.