Allen, TX asked in Divorce and Family Law for Maryland

Q: How do you divorce someone if you do not know where there are for years and they do not want to be found?

I am dating someone who is questionably married to someone else. He physically left the relationship due to abuse and fraud over 12 years ago and the 'wife' is nowhere to be found and has evaded divorce just after their separation by refusing to send a current address. She has since been married several times again (my boyfriend directly contacted one of the husbands at one time to verify) and we're not sure what that means for his marriage. Did she forge a divorce or marry under another alias? How can he get or verify a legal divorce in this situation and move on with his life?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Is there a question as to whether your boyfriend is actually married? Wouldn't he know? Than can easily be verified by checking th marriage license records in the state where he had the marriage ceremony performed. He should hire a private investigator to peform a search and skip trace, and if that fails to locate his wife, then he can file a motion for alternative service (by which service is accomplished in some manner deemed adequate to give notice, like mailing to the last known address, posting on the courthouse door, etc.). The motion must be supportd by an affidavit of good faith efforts to locate and serve the defendant in the case (your PI can sign an affidavit of the databases he used to search, etc., and your husband can set forth his efforts and findings in another affidavit). Then the case can proceed to a divorce. In a situation like this, it may be best to use a lawyer.

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