What If I Can't Find My Spouse During TX Divorce Proceedings?
It can be challenging to get a divorce when you do not know where your spouse is and how you can serve them the divorce papers. In the past, both spouses were legally required to agree to the divorce before the court would grant them one. Nowadays, however, you might be able to get a divorce even if you can’t locate your spouse – you just need to try and officially notify your spouse that you’re filing for divorce.
How Can I Serve a Spouse I Can’t Locate?
If your marriage didn’t bear children, you can serve the notice by posting it at the appropriate courthouse. This is known as service by posting. But you can only choose this option if the following is true:
- You can’t locate your spouse
- The wife isn’t pregnant
- You don’t have any minor children with your spouse
- You don’t have community property together
If you can’t find your spouse and you have children, you might be able to serve the notice by publishing it on a public information website or local newspaper. This is known as service by publication.
In the event that service by posting or publication does not work, you can request the court to allow you to serve the notice by other means. In Texas, you can serve your spouse through social media or email. This is known as substituted service.
What Are The Requirements for Service?
For the court to approve service by posting, publication, or substituted service, you must have done all that you reasonably could to serve your spouse in person. This generally means that:
- You’ve attempted to serve your spouse at their address a minimum of four times
- Your attempts were made in the morning, afternoon, night, and all the days of the week
- Any other specific requirements by the court
You must have likewise performed reasonable steps to ensure that you sent the divorce papers to the right address and have confirmed that the address is your spouse’s official home address. At the least, you should have attempted these forms of residency confirmation:
- Statements from a resident, neighbor, or other relevant individuals or entities confirming your spouse’s residence.
- Packages or mail out in plain sight with your spouse’s name on them. Keep in mind that looking inside the mailbox or getting someone else’s mail or packages is illegal.
- A photo of your spouse’s vehicle, including the license plate, that’s registered to your spouse. The address can be confirmed from the registration details.
In your request for alternative service, make sure to include all the details of your attempts to confirm your spouse’s residence and serve them the divorce papers. The key is to convince the court that you have done all that you possibly can to locate yourself to no avail.
Reach Out to a Knowledgeable Fort Worth Divorce Attorney Now
If you need help locating your spouse or have any questions about your divorce, contact The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker. You can learn more about your case in a consultation with our Fort Worth divorce attorney. Call 817-332-7703 or fill out our online form to set up your consultation.