Divorce Lawyers Should Be Able to Handle a Missing Spouse
Divorce lawyers frequently encounter spouses who have lost all contact with their other spouse. Clients are often relieved to know that there are still usually ways to get a divorce. There are a couple of exceptions, however, that can make the legal work more difficult.
Divorce attorneys sometimes will request that the court appoint another lawyer to represent your absent spouse. In this case, it is this lawyer’s duties to look for your absent spouse and attempt to make valid service. If this lawyer is unable to locate the absent defendant through an internet search or from the last known whereabouts, the procedure may also include posting a newspaper ad to determine if anyone in the community is familiar with the last known whereabouts of your spouse.
Because this procedure can involve you paying for two divorce lawyers it can be worrisome that costs could spiral out of control. In order to circumvent this, some courts have set fees to pay these lawyers so that you know what likely to expect ahead of time.
Having someone appointed to represent your spouse is different than if your spouse is refusing service because of being in the United States’ military or under the protection of a Native American reservation. Both of these instances make it far more likely that ending your marriage could have huge complications. If your spouse is in the military, your lawyer will likely have to comply with the Service Members Civil Relief Act, which complicates the procedure for getting a default judgment upon the failure of your spouse to appear and answer your suit. Legally ending a marriage against an active duty member of the military can be risky, as a judge may be more likely to vacate this judgment.
Similarly, most divorce attorneys may struggle to get valid service of process on someone who is under the protection of a Native American reservation. Because this is federal land, it is unlikely that your local sheriff will have the jurisdiction to be able to enter. It is probably valid service if it is possible to be able to have a private a private process server effectuate service. One problem, however, could be enforcing the judgment that you receive. For instance, it may require extra proceedings to remove a child forcibly from a reservation where the Native American tribe is unwilling to relinquish the child.
It is almost always easiest to end your marriage when your spouse is accessible. This is not always the case, and so you may have options to move forward even if your spouse is not accessible.
This article is only meant to be informative and not legal advice. If you are interested in legal advice, contact a lawyer in your area to discuss your case and what rights you may have. Will Beaumont practices Family Law out of New Orleans and Metairie, and his law license only allows him to practice law in Louisiana.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A New Orleans divorce lawyer is exactly what you need if you and your spouse are splitting up and you're not sure what you need to do. If you want to know more about this you should see:
Beaumont Divorce, 3801 Canal Street #207, New Orleans, LA 70119, (504) 483-8008
Beaumont Divorce of Metairie, 3814 Veterans Memorial Blvd #302, Metairie, LA 70002, (504) 834-1117