A lot of estranged couples do not keep track of one another after they separate. This can lead to situations where one spouse wishes to finalize a divorce, but has no idea where the other spouse is living. The question often arises as to how a divorce can be completed when you don’t know where the other party lives.
Divorce by publication is allowed by the Court in some of these circumstances. However, the Court generally requires that a party who asserts that they do not know where the other party is makes a reasonable effort to try and locate them. This might mean going to their old address, going to their last known place of employment, calling their relatives, doing internet searches, Facebook searches, locating their friends and asking for their address, and more. The court will require a party to show that reasonable efforts have been made to locate the other party before allowing the party to provide service via publication. This is to avoid any abuse of the system, such as someone trying to get divorced secretly, without the other party being notified. This is not allowed and the rules regarding when service by publication will be allowed are intended to circumvent any such issues. Getting a divorce when you don’t know where the party lives is not impossible, but it requires some extra steps and reasonable efforts to locate the other party.