In England and Wales it is possible to obtain a divorce even if a spouse is missing. However, a person would need to petition under the grounds of either unreasonable behaviour, 5 years separation or desertion before the Court will allow the divorce to proceed the Court will expect efforts to be made to find the former spouse first.
The other two grounds to petition under are adultery or two years separation with consent. It is not possible to proceed with divorce proceedings issued on these grounds where a spouse is missing because both of these grounds require a response from the missing spouse. An adultery petition requires the Respondent to admit the adultery and a two year separation petition requires the Respondent to consent to the divorce.
Here are a few ideas for tracking down your missing spouse!
Family and Friends (including children)
Often by reaching out to family and friends you can enlist their help in finding out where you spouse is now or getting a message passed on at least for them to contact you – this should always be your first port of call
Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites etc can make short work of searching for your missing spouse!
Send a simple message via snail mail to the last known address. Send a simple note letting the person that you are trying to contact them.
Use Public Records
Speak with the person’s former employers or school or perform a search to see if the person is a member of a trade or professional organization. Perhaps they have an address to forward to information regarding whether another company or employer has called asking about the person for references.
Document Your Search
Keep track of any new information you receive in a tracking log. As you speak to friends and relatives of the person you are attempting to locate, being able to look back at your notes and quote other relatives and friends to new relatives and friends may make your search easier and provide the evidence you need.
GPs and Banks
Ask them if they can help by passing on a message etc.
If you need to file for divorce without an address or knowledge of your spouse you will need to show evidence in the form of letters/emils and responses and screen shots etc to prove that you have made exhaustive enquiries to try and locate your spouse in order for the court to allow your divorce to proceed without their knowledge.
You can also enlist the help of the authorities to help find your spouse but you would need to apply to the court if all the above has failed (and potentially pay a fee).
If you need help applying to the court to help find your spouse, call The Divorce Manager on 0800 294 0452 or click here to book your FREE consultation.