How to divorce a missing spouse in the UK
It’s quite common for spouses to lose contact with one another and move on with new partners.
When this happens it can become difficult to find an address for them. However, the court still requires that your spouse, either be served with the divorce petition or that you can show you have done everything you can to find them, but have been unsuccessful.
If you are going through a divorce in the UK and you need to serve divorce papers to your ex partner then you will need to locate and verify the address for your ex partner to enable a process server to attend the correct address or for you to send any legal correspondence to.
Like many things in life its about being informed and planning each step with good qualified advice. As a start there is good information on this government website about the steps to take if you want a divorce. To find out more information about what you need to apply for a divorce visit the government website about how to get a divorce.
Divorce tracing agent service
When it comes to locating where your ex partner now lives the best course of action is to use a Tracing Agency such as findukpeople. This will give you a verified current address for your ex partner which shows the address is currently being lived at by your ex partner and can be relied upon for further action such as serving any divorce court papers to.
Normally we conclude most cases to trace an ex partner in just 24 – 48 hours and take a maximum of 7 days to trace an ex partner for divorce purposes. The address we locate will have been verified as the current address for the ex husband or ex wife / partner and then will allow for the next stage of serving any divorce proceedings.
If your ex partner is deceased
When an ex spouse is traced as passed away then there is a protocol for dealing with this. If you have sufficient evidence that your partner has died, which could be our verified deceased status report, then you can end your marriage using form D8D without sending the divorce petition.
You’ll have to pay a £365 UK court fee currently.
What happens if you cannot find them
When we attempt to trace an ex partner we resolve 90% or more cases the first time around but on some occasions the ex partner cannot be traced. If this outcome occurs we do not charge for the case and recommend that the client waits 4-8 weeks and then re instructs again. This normally resolves the outstanding cases and all that was needed was for some extra time to elapse so that the multiple systems we use to trace your ex partner update with more current information as to their current whereabouts.
If the petition is returned unopened*
Your regional divorce centre will let you know if the divorce petition is returned unopened. You’ll need to try another way to send the petition to your partner. You can either:
- apply for the petition to be sent in another way, for example by email
- contact your regional divorce centre to apply for a search of other government departments to get their address
You’ll have to pay a £50 court fee for each.
If you still can’t find them, you’ll have to fill in the statement to dispense with service of divorce petition. Return the statement to your regional divorce centre. You’ll have to pay a £50 court fee.
* Once we have traced your ex partner and you don’t use a process server to personally serve the documents.
If you need further information please contact our 24-7 customer service team on 01273 252539
* Please note this is an informative article but does not constitute legal advice.