Albany Family Law Blog

What happens if I can’t locate my spouse during the divorce?

Posted by Joanne P. Monagan, Esq. | Dec 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

If you are living in a scenario where your spouse has left with no forwarding address or information on where they are, you may be having a hard time getting in touch to start your divorce.

The way New York state law works is that the defendant has to be served with a Summons with Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint in person. If you cannot do that, then you will need to go to court and ask if you can serve your spouse in any other way.

Abandonment is grounds for divorce

If this is a true case of abandonment, it is grounds for divorce in New York. By law, abandonment occurs when one of the parties has been gone for at least one year without the other party's consent. Additionally, they must be gone without justification or good cause.

For example, if your spouse leaves one day to work away from home for the next year, you'd know where they are or at least that they left in good faith. That doesn't constitute abandonment. However, if the spouse leaves unexpectedly and makes no contact for over a year, then you'd have a good case for abandonment.

You can get help to get your divorce started without your spouse

You don't have to stay married just because you can't find your spouse. You have the opportunity to talk to the court and seek an exception, so you can begin the divorce process. Our website has more on how you can get started and begin the process of moving forward with your life. 

About the Author

Joanne P. Monagan, Esq.

Managing Attorney


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