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Can I file for divorce without my spouse knowing?

Posted on April 11, 2018

The end of a marriage or relationship can be a tumultuous time. This can be even more complicated if one person does not agree that divorce is necessary — or perhaps even more difficult if they have moved away and cannot be found.

There are options available for obtaining a divorce without the knowledge or expressed permission of your spouse, but there are also many procedures in place to ensure that this power is only used when necessary.

A woman considering filing for divorce without telling her husbandConsult with a family lawyer

You can work together with a family lawyer to come up with a strategy for approaching your spouse to have them agree to your request for a divorce. This is also a useful time to question your lawyer about the different procedures, requirements and costs for both parties.

Even if your spouse is completely against the idea of divorce it may be possible to proceed and serve them with divorce papers—but if they opt to challenge your request for a divorce then you will need to have a legal professional by your side to help you through the next steps.

You need to prove that the marriage has broken down

If you are counting on getting a divorce without your partner’s consent simply because you aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, you aren’t likely to have much success.

The onus will be on you to prove that the marriage should be legally terminated. This may be necessary in situations where one partner has been verbally, physically or mentally abusive to the other. You should work together with your family lawyer to collect evidence of this treatment that can be used in court.

Also, it is only possible to petition for a divorce in this manner if you are the one who is suffering in the relationship. Someone who has been mistreating their partner cannot use their own behaviour as justification for the end of the relationship, as a way to get out of various responsibilities or legal requirements.

You need to make an attempt to find your partner

You will not be automatically granted a divorce simply because you aren’t sure where your partner is. Regardless of the reason for your partner’s disappearance, you need to make a distinct effort to find them before you can receive a divorce.

This may include going through their network of contacts, such as their friends, family and employer(s), to try to locate them.

Only if you have exhausted all methods of trying to find them will be allowed to serve divorce papers to their guardian, lawyer or family member. If these alternatives are not available, you can also send a copy of the divorce papers by fax, email or even social media.

Get in touch with Epstein & Associates

If you feel like you’re stuck in a corner in your relationship and want answers for what steps you can take, then come in and speak with our professional family lawyers. We offer a complimentary consultation where you can get a sense of what we can provide for you and so you can get the assurance you need that we will protect your interests!


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