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Don't Know Where Your Spouse Is? You Can Still Get Divorced!


If you want a divorce but you don’t know how to locate your spouse, Divorce by Publication is your answer!

In New York, the legal system requires that you make every effort to find your spouse in order to get a divorce. As a seasoned divorce attorney and mediator for more than 35 years, me and my divorce team have handled hundreds of Divorce by Publication divorces. They require lots of research, as well as legal and investigative expertise.

So here are some of the details on how Divorce by Publication works:

In order to receive a divorce when you cannot locate your spouse, a “diligent effort” has to be made to “search” for your spouse in the “jurisdiction” where your spouse was last known to reside.

Your attorney/investigative team will arrange to:

1. Visit the last place of residence for your spouse.

2. Contact and obtain search reports from the United States Postal Service; the New York County Board of Elections; all US military branches; and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

3. The team will research telephone directories; the internet, including Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In.

If a person is found with your spouse’s name, an investigation must be done to determine whether that person is your spouse. If your spouse is found, then they can be served with an action for divorce. If they are not found and the search fails, then your attorney will contact the court and request the judge to issue an Order of Publication.

For the judge to agree to the Order of Publication your attorney must provide documentation of all the efforts made to find your spouse. Your attorney will have to prove to the court a “diligent effort” was made to find your spouse.

When the Order of Publication is granted, your attorney will place a legal notice in a newspaper that publishes in the county/city where your spouse last lived. The legal notice will state you are bringing a divorce action against your spouse. This is the legal equivalent of serving “notice” with a “summons.”

The legal notice must be placed within the 30 days after the judge has signed the order. The order often specifies in which newspaper to place the notice, which is where the missing spouse is last known to have lived, and the notice must appear in the publication three times, once a week for three consecutive weeks.

If your spouse does not respond after 30 days from when the third notice was published, your attorney can file your divorce “by default.” This means even though you have made every effort to find your spouse, including by legal notice, your spouse has failed to respond to your intention to divorce. The court deems that he or she has “defaulted” and your attorney can file your divorce papers so you can receive your judgment of divorce.

Divorce by Publication is costly, complex and time-consuming. A judge will not approve a Divorce by Publication until they are convinced your spouse cannot be found. It’s important that you have a highly skilled and experienced attorney/investigative team to guide you through the intricacies of this process.

If you need help because your spouse cannot be located and you want a divorce, call me. Don’t despair! I will be happy to speak with you about all the details of Divorce by Publication.

Having successfully served NYC for more than 35 years as a New York divorce attorney and mediator, my team of experts and I have successfully helped many people to divorce their spouses who could not be located! We can help you with your Divorce by Publication.

Call me to schedule a free consultation. 212.734.1551.

All our FREE CONSULTATIONS are still conveniently conducted virtually.

We look forward to helping you!

Warm regards,


New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner is available to help you divorce your spouse that cannot be located using the Divorce by Publication process!

Please call to schedule your FREE consultation now.

Call 212.734.1551