I Cannot Locate My Spouse – How Can I Obtain a Divorce?

A Chicago Divorce Explains the Illinois Divorce Process

A crucial step in your Illinois divorce is serving your spouse with a copy of your divorce petition. By serving him or her with a copy of your petition, he or she is alerted to the deadline by which he or she must file an answer or response to your petition and when he or she is expected to appear next before a court. Serving your spouse, called “service of process,” is crucial – if the court finds that you did not properly serve your spouse with a copy of your divorce petition, your divorce case can be dismissed or delayed until you are able to complete service of process. But how can you do this when you cannot locate your spouse?

You Must Make Reasonable Efforts to Find Your Spouse

When you need to serve your spouse with a copy of your divorce petition, you cannot simply put the petition in the mail and say you have done your part. You must make reasonable efforts to find your spouse. This means you generally must:

  • Attempt to have a process server serve your spouse in person at his or her last known address and/or workplace; or
  • If he or she cannot be located, attempt to serve your spouse by having a process server leave a copy of the petition at the residence of the spouse with someone who is at least 13 years of age.

But what if you have attempted these methods and cannot find your spouse – that is, you do not know where he or she lives and there is no residence he or she lives at where the petition can be left with someone of suitable age? Even then, you must continue to make reasonable efforts to locate the missing spouse by:

  • Checking his or her workplace or with the post office for forwarding addresses;
  • Contacting family and friends to see if they know where your spouse is; and
  • Using other methods of communication, such as social media, to attempt to contact your spouse and confirm his or her location.

But I Still Cannot Find My Spouse – What Do I Do?

If the court believes you have taken all reasonable measures to try and locate your spouse and you are still unable to physically locate him or her, the court may then allow you to serve him or her by publishing a notice in one or more newspapers or other publications for several weeks. Once the publications have been made, your divorce case can proceed, although you may be limited in the type of relief you can obtain, i.e., you will be able to get a pronouncement of divorce, but other orders may not be entered unless your spouse is physically present.

Work With a Chicago Divorce Attorney

The knowledgeable Chicago divorce attorneys at Arami Law, can help ensure you take the necessary steps to attempt to serve your spouse and can advise you when you are able to pursue other methods of service. We strive to keep your divorce case proceeding as expeditiously as possible. Contact us at (312) 584-6355 and let us assist you in obtaining a divorce.

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