Maybe, although having your spouse served with papers is an essential part of the divorce process. However, if you can't locate them—whether they've gone into hiding or you went your separate ways and simply lost touch—it can complicate things a bit.
Divorce by Publication
New Jersey's “divorce by publication” process allows for people to divorce absent spouses, but you'll have to jump through a series of hoops before you can take advantage of it. Here's what you need to know about divorce by publication, and how working with an experienced attorney can make it easier to divorce a spouse you can't find.
Before the court will let you divorce your spouse by publication, you must first prove that you actually made a serious effort to locate them. This entails sending inquiry letters to:
- Your spouse's friends, family members, and former employers
- The DMV in the state where your spouse last had a driver's license
- All branches of the military
- The post office in the same town as your spouse's last known address
All of your efforts to locate your spouse must be thoroughly documented for the court in an Affidavit of Diligent Search.
If you're able to find someone who knows where your spouse is, you may be able to take advantage of something called substituted service. Also known as alternative service, the process allows you to serve someone else with divorce papers to give to your spouse. Unfortunately, alternative service might not do any good if you don't know anyone who can help you find your spouse and serve them with papers.
If your spouse still can't be found after a diligent search and several weeks, you can finalize your divorce by publication by publishing your divorce notice in the local newspaper.
Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney About a Divorce by Publication Case
The divorce by publication process can be complicated, difficult, and frustrating. Fortunately, we can help. At Carl Taylor Law, our skilled divorce and family law attorneys can help you perform the diligent search the court demands, and take the stress of handling the grueling paperwork and managing strict deadlines off your hands. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a discrete consultation.