What happens if you do not know the whereabouts of your spouse when you are filing a sole application for Divorce.
When filing a sole application for Divorce (noting joint applications are possible too), you are required by the Court Rules to serve the sealed Application for Divorce on your spouse at least 28 days prior to the Court hearing. If your spouse is overseas, you are required to serve the documents at least 42 days before the Court hearing.
Service is required to allow the responding party to a Divorce Application an opportunity to be heard as part of the process. They are able to file their own Response to the Divorce Application if they disagree with some of the contents of the original document served on them. Service is also important, as there are legal implications for divorce (such as commencement of time limits for property settlement) and the service of the Application brings these proceedings to their attention. Service is usually required by hand (known as personal service) but can be done by post if the other party returns an Acknowledgement of Service document signed by them which is then filed with the Court.
But what happens if you do not know the whereabouts of your spouse?
The Court has the ability to dispense with the requirement for personal service or service altogether if there are good reasons for doing so. The Court may also allow service through another party who knows your spouse. The Court Rules outline the various considerations the Court will need to have, including attempts at service, attempts at locating the whereabouts of your spouse, whether advertising in a newspaper would be of assistance and the like. The particular circumstances of the matter are highly relevant.
These types of Divorce Applications, whilst complex, are easily dealt with by an experienced Family Lawyer. If you wish to obtain an Order for Divorce, but cannot locate your spouse, you should seek some advice regarding your situation from an experienced Family Lawyer who may be able to assist you in taking the necessary steps to finalise and obtain an Order for your Application to dispense with Service.
If you need advice regarding any Family Law issue, contact us on 8523 8400 (Gawler) or 8211 6500 (Adelaide) to arrange an appointment for an initial no obligation consultation with one of our experienced Family Lawyers. Alternatively, send an email to email@example.com and we will contact you.