• Tracy Duell-Cazes

How Can I Get A Divorce If I Am Unable To Locate My Spouse?

Updated: Nov 22, 2021



It may take two to tango, but it only takes one to waltz out of marriage in the state of California. If your spouse is absent and unable to be located, you are still able to file and receive a divorce without the absentee spouse’s presence, or permission. However, it is important to follow all the correct steps to ensure the process is complete.


Fill out the Divorce Form


To start the process of divorce you must complete two forms:


In the Petition (Form FL-100), you list information about your marriage listing dates, children, property, and debts.

The Summons (Form FL-110) mandates your spouse’s response and informs them what will happen if no response is given within 30 days.

There may be other forms to fill out, depending on your location, so be sure to ask the family law court clerk to have everything completed.

Service of Process


This is where a spouse is informed by a personal official notice that they are party to a lawsuit. However, in the case that you cannot locate your spouse, this may not be possible so the next step is unique and is known as, Divorce by publication. This only occurs after a judge is 100% convinced that based on your sworn declaration, and of the inability to find the Defendant after many proven efforts, this is the only option left. However, you must conduct a “diligent search” before the Service by Publication.


Diligent Search


A careful search includes many different actions to contact the dependent such as:


Searching directories both online and in phone books for where they may live.

Using a private investigator

Asking friends, family, and other relatives where they may be living or located

Asking the post office for information on possible forwarding address

Checking records with taxes to see if your spouse owns property

Getting in touch with previous employers or landlords

Submit Affidavit of Diligent Search


After this search, you must file a form for the court to show all the effort and avenues that were exhausted looking for your spouse and that you did your due diligence to locate them with no result.

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