As a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer, I am often asked by clients about their spouse being lost during the divorce process. When someone tells me that they can’t find their spouse, I say don’t worry we don’t need them to get divorced. They could be overseas, or incarcerated for that matter, or simply just checked out.
The court rules allow us to file a publication. We file papers in the court, ask the judge to let us serve the complaint and summons to the individual via publication. Another way would be to obtain a driver’s license and serve the papers to that last known address. You don’t need the other spouse to get divorced. It’ll be what’s called a default judgment.
That doesn’t mean you get to just take all the assets without anybody asking anything. You won’t be able to go into court and say there are ten things to split up and you want all ten. The judge at that point will look at you and your lawyer and say wait a second, I know you can’t find this guy, we’re getting a default judgment.
There’s this level of fairness and justice that when you’re going to get a default judgment, you just want to be careful. That individual spouse may step in at the last minute and appear randomly. You’re going to have a battle. When you go to a default hearing for an uncontested divorce because there is no other side. He or she has been absent for the last year or two. That person can come in, cannot present information or anything else, but can ask questions and make statements.
For example, they can talk to the court and say “There were ten items to split judge. I know I didn’t answer the complaint. I know I checked out and had an emotional breakdown but I’m back now.” Why should they get all ten? How about we do six/four or something to that effect? You can get what’s called a default judgment when the other person isn’t around. You do not need your spouse to get divorced.
Are you trying to get divorced but can’t find the other spouse? Contact our experienced New Jersey Divorce Lawyer for assistance.
This educational blog was brought to you by Christopher Leon Garibian, an experienced New Jersey Divorce Lawyer.