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Divorcing an Absent or Uncooperative Spouse

In divorce proceedings, parties are sometimes not able to locate their spouse. They may have separated years ago and no longer know where the other party resides or, for whatever reason, one party has disappeared. A person in this situation may believe that there is nothing they can do and that they are unable to get divorced. However, a missing spouse should not prevent a person from proceeding with their divorce in Colorado. The law provides options for proceeding when they are unable to locate their spouse. A party can make a request to the court that the other party is served by publication of a consolidated notice.

Providing Proof

Before the court can authorize service by publication, a party must first show that he or she has made diligent efforts to locate the missing party.

Diligent efforts include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Contacting family/friends/co-workers of your spouse
  • Running an internet search
  • Trying to personally serve him or her via a process server

It is important to document such attempts to locate the missing party and include these efforts in one’s motion to request service by publication. Once the court approves the request for service by consolidated notice, the notice will be published in a newspaper that has general circulation in the county where you filed your divorce. It is important to note that proceeding by service by publication can impact whether or not the court has jurisdiction to decide certain issues in your case. Therefore, it is most helpful to consult a divorce attorney in Denver regarding the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding by a publication of a consolidated notice.

An Uncooperative Spouse

A related issue may arise when a spouse knows where his or her spouse resides and has had him or her served, but the spouse refuses to participate in the divorce process. In this situation, a person can also proceed with their divorce. As long as a spouse can show that they properly served their spouse and provided notice of the proceedings, the court can still enter orders regarding the divorce. This situation is what is referred to as a default and the court will enter orders based on the information and participation of the spouse who is cooperating in the divorce process. Here, it is important to note that your spouse’s refusal to cooperate with the divorce process can be overcome and you can still obtain your divorce.

Posted January 08, 2015
by: MFL Team

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