Sometimes couples drift apart without ever bothering to divorce. When you’re ready to move on and to legally extricate yourself from such marital ties but don’t know your spouse’s whereabouts, it adds an extra layer of complexity. There is, however, a process in place that can help guide you.
Start at the Beginning
Your divorce will begin the same way that most Texas divorces begin – by filing an Original Petition for Divorce. This will get the process started, but it’s not something that you should attempt on your own. Ensure that your case goes as smoothly as possible by engaging an experienced Texas divorce attorney.
Citation by Publication
If, after diligent attempts at serving petition upon your spouse, you are unable to do so, you may resort to citation by publication. This amounts to the court’s allowance that you’ve exhausted every reasonable effort to locate your missing spouse and that you may finally resort to serving that spouse through the posting of this citation on the courthouse door.
Attorney Ad Litem
Typically, no response will be forthcoming and the court may proceed by appointing an attorney ad litem who will represent your missing spouse’s interests in the case (this is usually only necessary if children or significant property interests are involved). If found necessary, this ad litem attorney will conduct his or her own investigation into your spouse’s whereabouts and interests. This will naturally increase both your legal expenses and the duration of your divorce proceedings.
Attorney Ad Litem Report
The Ad Litem lawyer will perform the investigation and share his or her findings with the court. If the attorney is unable to locate your spouse, the case may proceed to a default-basis trial at which your missing spouse need not be present. If on the other hand, the ad litem attorney does locate your spouse, the case will proceed exactly as it would have if your spouse hadn’t been missing in the first place.
This process obviously complicates the already complex issue of divorce. If you are contemplating divorcing a spouse whom you’ve lost contact with, retain an experienced Texas divorce attorney and move on with your life.
If you are ready to legally disentangle yourself from a missing spouse, The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., is here to help you move past the hurdles and on with your own life. Attorney Frank J. Vendt is a skilled Texas divorce attorney who focusses on solution-based legal guidance. Schedule a consultation with Mr. Vendt today by calling our office at 832-276-9474 or by contacting us online.