Couples always have the option of divorcing when their marriages don’t
work out. Divorce can be a complicated and emotional legal process, but
for many couples the benefits still outweigh the struggles. In some circumstances,
divorce becomes a bit more challenging because a spouse has left and disappeared.
Fortunately, you can still get a divorce in Texas even if your spouse
is absent or missing. There are just a few additional procedures and protocols
you have to complete due to your unique circumstance. Unfortunately, this
process can last about 5-6 months.
A Good Faith Effort to Find Your Spouse
The first step in your divorce process is to try and find your missing
spouse. This doesn’t necessarily mean your spouse has to be
found; you just have to prove to the court that you made every effort to serve
the divorce papers. You can start by contacting your spouse’s family
and friends. If this doesn’t work, check your spouse’s current
and former places of employment. If all else fails, try contacting the
U.S. Postal Service closest to your spouse’s last known residence.
If your spouse still can’t be located, you can submit an Affidavit
of Diligent Search to the court.
An Affidavit of Diligent Search must list each attempt you made to reach
out to your spouse—don’t forget to include dates! Because
it serves as a legal testimony, this document will need to be signed and
Your last step is to submit a Final Decree of Divorce to officially divide
your marital estate. You may also have to file an Affidavit for Citation
and complete a Return of Citation depending on your specific circumstances
and if you have any children. These documents certify that you made all
attempts to reach your spouse and even posted a notice about your divorce
in a major newspaper. Your spouse has 30 days to respond to your divorce
petition. After the 30 days have passed, a judge can finally review, and
hopefully approve, your Final Decree of Divorce.
Retain Legal Counsel Today
If you’re unable to serve your spouse divorce papers, contact the
Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny. Our
divorce lawyers have over 30 years of combined legal experience and are knowledgeable
about Texas divorce laws. We can guide you through every step of this
unique divorce process.
Contact the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
at (713) 936-2300 to schedule a case evaluation.