How Do You Divorce Someone When You Don't Know Where They Live?

What's up everyone? Divorce attorney Bobby Buchanan here in Chicago. This is Illinois Divorce TV. Today we're talking about, how do you get divorced from somebody that abandoned you years ago and you don't know where they live? Well, to get divorced in Illinois, you don't need to know where somebody lives. And whether or not you can ultimately find them is going to determine what kind of divorce that you get. There are two basic types of divorce, when we're talking about divorcing somebody when you don't know where they live, there is a publication divorce and there is a personal service divorce.

In a personal service divorce, you would be hiring a private investigator and they would locate your spouse and they would personally serve them with the divorce documents. By personally serving them with the divorce documents, the Illinois court gets a certain type of jurisdiction over them, jurisdiction is the word for basically power. The court gets the power over them to be able to order them to do things, and if they don't do them then there are repercussions to that. If they don't get jurisdiction over them, then they can't order everything that you would order under a personal service divorce. So you can't determine issues of property, that's the most common one, if you don't get personal service over somebody.

Now, the other type of divorce, the publication divorce is when you don't know where somebody lives. You do have to make a due diligent effort, for lack of a better phrase, you have to exercise due diligence in trying to find them, and the court will ask you what you have done to try to find them. So you have to kind of go down the rabbit hole a bit... I'm about to sneeze, sorry. And that's through social media, through reaching out to other family and friends of theirs that you may have contact with, hiring a private investigator so that they can try to locate their address. A lot of times people can be found a lot easier than you think if you utilize a private investigator, because they have access to certain databases that make finding people relatively easy.

So let's say you go down the rabbit hole and you cannot find them at the end of the rabbit hole. Then you can do what's called a publication divorce, and it just means that you post a little notification in a paper, it runs for a few weeks and then you go into divorce court and you ask the judge to finish the court. The technicalities of that are a little bit more specific, but that's the general idea.

The court will grant your divorce as long as they're satisfied that you have done everything you can to find them, and you will be divorced. The court will not address any issues that it needs personal service for, so it won't address support, it won't address property, it won't address maintenance, also called alimony. It won't address allocating debts or anything like that. But if you've been separated for years and years and years, there's probably a good likelihood that just the divorce itself is the most important thing for you.

In certain cases, there might be property issues at stake that would make it... So getting that private investigator and really going down that rabbit hole would make a lot of sense, and finding them and getting personal service over them would make a lot of sense. But in most cases you don't have to do all that and you can finish your divorce through publication. I hope that has clarified things for you a bit. Let me know in the comments if you have any comments, questions, concerns, anything like that. Happy to continue the conversation down there. Don't forget to subscribe so you get these videos as they come out every single day. Hit that bell as well and you'll be notified when they do come out. I'll talk to you soon.


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