Virginia Dugan, a Family Law Specialist at Atkinson & Kelsey, P.A, answers:
If someone’s spouse left them years ago; they have no idea where he is, or even if he’s still alive. Can that person still get a divorce if they can’t find their ex?
This is not an unusual question, people do drift apart. If that’s the case and you do not know where they are, haven’t heard from them in years, you can go ahead and ask the court to publish your service through the newspaper in the last place that you think your spouse was.
That’s generally for three weeks, and it has to come back. The newspaper will tell you, ‘We published for three weeks.’ Then you file a motion with the court saying we published, there has been no response, and basically by this time all you’re going to get is a divorce because you will not have property, and if you had kids, you’ve probably got them.
Virginia Dugan is a family law attorney with the Albuquerque firm of Atkinson & Kelsey. A recognized Specialist in Family Law and a frequent speaker and writer on family law topics, she exclusively practices divorce and matrimonial law. She served as President of the State Bar of New Mexico in 2006 and continues to serve as Vice Chair of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Committee. Learn more at www.atkinsonkelsey.com