Florida Divorce By Publication
It was the happiest day of your life. But the joy was short-lived, and now, as you look at your wedding pictures, you wonder what happened to that happy couple. Literally. Your spouse—who promised you, “’til death do us part,” has disappeared. You haven’t seen or heard a word for months. For all you know, your spouse could be living on the moon, or could even be deceased. You are done with grieving the loss and are more than ready to move on. That’s going to mean divorce. But how do you divorce someone who’s disappeared from the face of the earth?
It is possible to dissolve your marriage, although you need to be prepared for it to take some time and effort. The challenge comes in serving the divorce papers, which is required by law in Florida. In most cases, it’s simply a matter of filing with the court and having the sheriff deliver them. In your case, however, things are a bit more complicated. There are some steps you’re going to have to go through in order to demonstrate to the court that you have completed a diligent search for your spouse, including engaging in efforts such as these:
- Attempt to get forwarding addresses for your spouse through the Postmaster;
- Checking with former employers for forwarding information;
- Conducting an online search;
- Contacting friends and relative of your spouse;
- Searching all public records in the state (Dept. of Motor Vehicles, Highway Patrol, prisons and jails, etc,);
- Checking with utility companies;
- Checking with hospitals and the morgue.
Once you’ve completed a thorough search, you’ll need to submit an affidavit to the court indicating as much, providing documentation of your efforts. If the search was fruitless, you can now request divorce by publication.
The process is called divorce by publication because it involves publicizing a notice of action in newspapers located in the county in which you were married. The notice is generally required once each week for a total of four weeks in a row. There are exceptions for those with indigent status, instead requiring the notice be posted in three conspicuous locations within the county. At that point you may or may not have a hearing, and the divorce will likely be granted.
Unfortunately, a number of issues of concern to you may not be addressed in this type of divorce. The judge may not sanction child support, spousal support, or even property division requests.
Navigating the Waters
When engaged in complex issues such as divorce by publication, you want experienced, dedicated Boca Raton divorce lawyers at work for you. At WiseLieberman, you’ll get nothing less. To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.