How to Divorce Someone You Haven’t Seen in Years: 3 Easy Ways

It’s not always easy to know how to divorce someone you haven’t seen in years. If you’ve lost touch with your spouse, serving them with the necessary paperwork can be difficult.

This article will discuss 3 easy ways to divorce someone you haven’t seen in years. We’ll also talk about how to prove that you made a good-faith effort to find them!

how to divorce someone you haven't seen in years

How to Divorce Someone You Haven’t Seen in Years: 3 Easy Ways

Like marriage, a divorce is also a contract between two parties. And, like any other contract, both parties must agree to the terms to be valid. If the after married life won’t go smoothly, any party can go for divorce his/her partner.

The general rule to divorce someone is to serve the divorce paper to your spouse. But what if you suddenly lose touch with your spouse?  If your spouse has been deported, how can you divorce them? After all, how can you sign a contract when you can’t even find the other person?

I have a story for you. Recently, my colleague asked me for a suggestion, 

“My husband left me for four years. The last time he called me from India. After then, no communication with him. I want to divorce my husband, but I don’t know where he is. What can I do now?”

And she waited so long for his coming. But he didn’t come back. So I suggest she consult a divorce attorney. The attorney advised her of all the 3 steps I discussed here.

#1. File for a No-fault Divorce

A no-fault or no-blame divorce is the most simple and civilised way to end a marriage. According to the no-fault divorce procedure, a couple can file for divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership without pointing fingers or assigning blame to end the marriage.

The no-fault divorce procedure is usually done through an agreement between the husband and wife. If both parties agree, the divorce can be finalised without goign to court.

However, if one party refuses to sign the agreement, the divorce must go through a court hearing. In this case, the judge will decide who gets what and how the custody of any children will be split up.

No-fault divorces are generally more effective when trying to divorce someone you haven’t seen in years. This is because there’s no need for one party to serve the other with divorce papers. 

And since both parties are already in agreement, there’s a lesser chance of the divorce getting dragged out in court.

All you need to do is file a petition with the court and show that you’ve been living apart from your spouse for at least six months (in some states, the period is even longer). Once you’ve done this, you can move on to the next step.

Remember, a no-fault divorce is an option in some states; these are known as no-fault states. So, before you proceed with this option, be sure to check whether your state is a no-fault state or not. Here is a list of some states who have no-fault divorces:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii, etc.

If your state is not on the list of no-fault states, don’t worry. The next two steps will still apply to you.

#2. File a motion to serve by publication

If your spouse has disappeared and you have been unable to locate them, you may ask the court for permission to publish a notice of the divorce in a newspaper or post a notice in the courthouse. 

This is a legal way to notify your spouse that you’re filing for a divorce and allow them to respond.

For this method to work, you’ll need to provide evidence that:

  • You’ve made a reasonable effort to find your spouse. for exam
  • Your spouse can’t be found after those efforts
  • Publication of the notice will provide reasonable notice to your spouse

Generally, service by publication is used as a last resort when all other methods have failed to divorce someone without knowing them. It’s also important to note that not everyone is entitled to service by publication – only those who can’t be found after making a reasonable effort.

#3. Convince the Court about your efforts to find your spouse

If you can’t discover your spouse after making a reasonable effort, the court may believe you made an honest attempt. This will show that you’re serious about wanting a divorce and not just avoiding your responsibilities.

In this regard, you may be asked to provide an affidavit of diligent search. This sworn statement lists all the steps you took to find your spouse. The court will then use this information to decide if service by publication is appropriate in your case.

Further, you must prove that you have put in your full effort to find your spouse. To prove this, you’ll need to provide evidence such as:

  • Letters or emails sent/received from your spouse
  • Phone records or social media posts that show contact between you and your spouse
  • Witness testimonies who can attest that they helped you search for your spouse
  • Proof of payment for services such as private investigators or locator services

If the court is convinced that you made a sincere effort to find your spouse, they may grant you a divorce without requiring you to serve papers.

Ask the Judge: I haven’t seen my husband in 16 years, what do I do to get a divorce? I think watching the below video will be worth off:

FAQs on How to Divorce Someone You Haven’t Seen in Years

Can my husband divorce me without me knowing?

Yes, your husband can divorce you without knowing. This happens when you don’t respond to the divorce petition, and your husband moves forward with the divorce without you. Moreover, if you can’t be located, your husband may also be able to serve you by publication.

How do I find my spouse if he has moved?

If your spouse has moved and you don’t know where they are, there are a few things you can do to find them. You can start by checking the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. 

The NCOA is a government-run database that keeps track of everyone who has filed a change of address with the post office.

You can also try using online search engines like Intelius or Spokeo. These websites allow you to search for someone by name, phone number, or address. However, you may have to pay a fee to access certain information.

Another option is to hire a private investigator. A professional investigator will be able to locate your spouse and provide you with their current contact information.

Additionally, you can try contacting your spouse’s family and friends. They may know how to get in touch with your spouse or have some idea of their current whereabouts.

How long do you have to be separated before divorce is automatic?

In the United States, there is no such thing as an “automatic” divorce. A court only grants a divorce after a legal proceeding in which the parties involved must prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

However, some states have a waiting period for divorce, during which the parties must be separated before filing for divorce. This waiting period varies from state to state but is typically between six and twelve months.

In some states, the waiting period may be shorter if the parties can agree on all aspects of their divorce, such as child custody and property division. Once the waiting period has expired, and the divorce has been filed, it usually takes several months to finalise the divorce.

How do I divorce someone who is in jail?

You can still get divorced if your spouse is in jail, but the process may be a bit more complicated. In most states, you must file a petition for divorce and serve your spouse with the papers.

However, a third party must have the papers served if your spouse is in jail. You will also need to prove that you attempted to serve your spouse in person but could not do so because of their incarceration.

Once the papers have been served, your spouse will have a certain amount of time to respond. If they do not respond within the allotted time, you may be able to obtain a default divorce.

How do I divorce someone who is in the military?

If your spouse is in the military, you may be wondering how to go about getting a divorce. The process is generally the same as for any other divorce, but there are a few additional things to keep in mind.

First, you must ensure that your spouse is served with divorce papers following the Service member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA is a federal law that protects active-duty servicemembers from being sued without proper notice.

Second, you will need to file your divorce in the state where your spouse is stationed rather than where you reside. This is because military personnel are generally considered residents of their duty station, regardless of where their family lives.

Finally, you should be aware that the military has its system for dividing assets and debts in a divorce. This is known as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). 

The USFSPA allows state courts to divide military pensions in a divorce, but it does not mandate that they do so.

With these things in mind, you should be able to proceed with your divorce relatively smoothly. However, if you have any questions or concerns, you may want to consult with an attorney specializing in military divorce. 

Can I divorce without my partner’s consent?

In most cases, you will need your spouse’s consent to get a divorce. This is because divorce is generally seen as a mutual decision between two people. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

In the United States, divorce is a matter of state law, not federal law. This means that the requirements for divorce can vary from state to state. In some states, you can get a divorce without your partner’s consent.

However, other states require both parties to agree to the divorce before proceeding. If you want to get a divorce without your partner’s consent, you will need to check the laws of your state to see if this is possible.

Even in states where it is possible to get a divorce without your partner’s consent, the process can be more complicated and time-consuming than if both parties agree to the divorce.

In addition, you may need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for an uncontested divorce. For example, you may need to have been separated from your spouse for a certain period before you can file for divorce. 

For example, if your spouse has committed adultery or been physically abusive, you may be able to get a divorce without their consent. Additionally, some states have “no-fault” divorce laws that allow couples to get divorced without either party having to blame for the marriage’s end.

How to get divorce from husband easily?

The process of getting a divorce from your husband can vary depending on your circumstances. However, some general tips can make the process easier. You may follow these steps to convince him to have a quick divorce.

First, it’s important to be as organised as possible. This means gathering all relevant financial documents, such as tax returns and bank statements. You will also need to have a copy of your marriage certificate.

Second, you should try agreeing on terms including child custody, alimony payments and property dividings with your husband regarding the divorce as much as possible. This can make the process much simpler and faster.

Finally, consult with an attorney before proceeding with the divorce. They can provide specific guidance and advice based on your unique situation.

After how many years of separation is a marriage annulled?

In the United States, there is no set period after which a marriage is automatically annulled. However, some states have laws that recognise the dissolution of a marriage after a certain number of years of separation.

In general, however, an annulment is only granted if there is a defect in the marriage from the outset. This might include fraud, coercion, or bigamy. If the couple simply died apart, this would not be grounds for an annulment.

To have a marriage annulled, one of the parties must typically file a petition with the court. The court will then review the case and decide whether or not to grant an annulment.


If you want to divorce someone you haven’t seen in years, there are three possible ways: filing for a no-fault divorce, motion to serve by publication, or convincing the court about your efforts to find your spouse.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to prove that you’ve made a reasonable effort to locate your spouse. If all goes smoothly, you’ll be able to end your marriage even if you haven’t seen your spouse in years.

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