When couples decide to divorce, one or both can file for divorce to end the marriage. However, marriages sometimes end when one spouse simply walks out and does not provide any information regarding their whereabouts.
In situations where a spouse wishes to divorce but cannot locate their spouse, performing due diligence to locate a spouse is necessary. Due diligence may include attempts to locate a spouse at a previous address or employer. It may also include asking family members and friends. Sometimes performing internet searches to include possible social media accounts or searching property records in the area where a spouse likely resides may yield location results also.
When all attempts to locate a spouse to serve them notice of the divorce fail, an affidavit may be filed with the court, which will include a list of all the efforts made to locate the spouse. Subsequently, a notice is typically published in the newspaper in the county where the divorce is filed (or the municipality where the couple resided) for three consecutive weeks. Thirty days after the first publication, an uncontested default may be entered so that the judge can issue an order for divorce.
Unfortunately, for couples with children or marital assets and debt, decisions regarding spousal maintenance, child support and custody, or the division of marital property cannot be decided if a spouse is not present. It is in a spouse’s best interest to locate a missing spouse or reopen a case once they are located.
When you have any questions regarding your divorce in Illinois, contact Lake County family law attorney Ronald L. Bell for answers at 847-495-6000.