Am I Divorced?

The question is all too frequent. Am I still married? How can I find out if my spouse divorced me?

If you and your spouse have been separated for a long time, the simple answer is that there is no easy way to confirm whether your spouse ever divorced you. You can check easily enough, of course, in the court for the area where you live. But what about the area where your spouse lives? And if you have lost touch with your spouse, how can you know where he or she has lived?

Unfortunately, the solution is to err on the side of safety. If you’re not sure that you and your spouse are still married, and it’s important to you to be single (for example, if you want to remarry), you have no choice but to get a divorce, even if you learn later that it was redundant.

Getting a divorce when you can’t locate your spouse takes a little extra time, but shouldn’t be inordinately expensive. You will typically follow this sequence:

  • You will file for divorce and persuade the court that you cannot after reasonable diligence locate your spouse. The court will then permit you to serve your spouse by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where you live.
  • You will publish a notice in that newspaper (typically for four consecutive weeks), providing pertinent information that your spouse could use to respond to your divorce complaint if he or she read it — and of course, there’s a REALLY SLIM chance your spouse will read it.
  • After the notice runs for four consecutive weeks, you are deemed to have accomplished service of process on your spouse. Now you must wait ANOTHER 30 days. At the end of that 30 days, you will file an application for default on the basis of your spouse’s failure to respond.
  • The court will set a hearing. At that hearing, you will provide testimony that confirms the court’s jurisdiction as well as the grounds for divorce. Then the court will likely sign a Final Judgment of Divorce.
  • There are some things you can do and some things you cannot do when you obtain your divorce by publication. You can get custody of a child, for example, and you obtain custody of property. Typically, however, you cannot get an award of child support until you actually get personal service on your spouse. Most courts are also reluctant to transfer property of a spouse unless and until that spouse has been served personally.

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    227 thoughts on “Am I Divorced?”

    1. I went over seas to visit my husbands family when I came back he was with another woman,he said she was a baby sitter,her name is sherrie reece I didnt tell my parents. but thier not sure but they and a couple other people told me they think that while I was gone he (my husband ) may have divorced me.can you help

    2. Last seen spouse in Orlando Florida 01/2000, not sure of my status. We were married in Ocoee Florida, I believe 07/1999. Just need to know if I’m still married , or if you have suggestion thank you.

    3. My name is Cassidy and my spouse and I have not had contact in MONTHS,
      he said that he divorced me. How can I find out if that is true? Thanks SOOO
      much for any help you can give me. Sincerely, Cassidy

    4. Cassidy, if your husand has completed a divorce in a particular state, you can check the records in that state by going to any state courthouse or using its online records service if it offers one. If you don’t know which state is involved and want to make sure you and he are divorced, you may have no choice but to initiate the divorce yourself.

    5. My partner seperated from his wife over tens years ago. They married in England but she is German and now lives in Germany. Can she get a divorce in Germany and how can he find out if she has divorced him, or if not him to divorce her? Thanks loads

    6. i have been separated from my husband for about 2 or 3 years. i do not remember how long it has been. Well, as soon as we got separated, he moved in with a lady. when he speaks about me, he refers to me as his ex-wife, and he refers to her as his wife. How do i know if i am divorced? Please help… thanks!!!

    7. My husband abandoned his entire family almost seventeen years ago. My children are grown now and I’d like to know how I can find out if he divorced me. How do I do this? We were married in Maryland, but lived in Virginia. I now reside in British Columbia Canada.

    8. I hear the angst in these many requests for clarity. The unfortunate truth is that I have nothing new to add. You can check in the area where you and your spouse lived together and where you think your spouse may have settled. And if that doesn’t turn up any record of your divorce and you want to be single, the safe course is to file for divorce. The only risk of this procedure is that you may turn out to be divorced twice, and there’s no harm in that.

    9. My husband filed for divorce about 14 yrs ago and then disppeared. The divorce is in limbo. What do I do? I live in california

    10. Hi,
      My name is Rodrigo i would like to know my status..i was married and i´ve had to live US because i had a health problem in my family….now i can not contact my wife last time i spoke with her she sad we are divorced already….i left everything in usa…and i have no idea how to get my life back….if you could please give some clue i really appreciated….

    11. Rumors has been going around that the man that i’m separated form has actually gotten married already to another women but i have not yet received any type of divorce papers. I don’t know how to find this information out. I need help!

    12. hi my husband called me today and announced that we may have never gotten married… he and i married 6 years ago in bedford county virginia. however he married someone 2 years ago, while we think still married to me. she goes to file for divorce and get home on charges of having more than one wife, and the lawyer she hired said that he could not locate a marriage record for he and i. i dont have alot of money to search around online and there is no way i can get to the state we got married in. i live in new york a very expensive state.. so if anyone can help me i wouldnt be so grateful.

    13. Hi, my name is dag, im from Norway, and i live there now.
      I was married to a woman in Alabama, and we have been separated for two years now, and i think she might have filed a divorce but im not sure. How can i find out if im still married? And if i am, then how can i file a divorce from overseas?
      Thank you

    14. If you have a buddy in Alabama, ask him or her to go to any county courthouse and search for your name; the court personnel will be glad to help with the search. If you need to get a divorce and don’t know where your wife lives, most any lawyer who helps with divorce can help you do it. My guess is that you would want to do it in Norway, however, so you wouldn’t need to travel to the states.


    16. I know of no “national database” of divorce records. You certainly can check in the state or states where he lived at the time. Beyond that, if you can’t reach him and can’t confirm that you’re divorced, the easiest way to do it may be to file where you are now as if you’re still married.

    17. I was married about 3 years ago, and haven’t lived with or seen my husband in about 2 1/2 years. I want to get divorced. I live in Florida…what should my next steps be? I have no idea where he is or how to get in contact with him.

    18. Talk to your lawyer about getting service of process by publication. You’ll need to show that you don’t know where he lives and cannot with reasonable diligence find out where he is.

    19. Hi i married in march of 2002 while my husband was in county jail he never got released and i left and moved back here to california where i currently live in feb 2003… from the day i left i never spoke to him again i did while living in texas file divorce but i never went to court because i was not in that state since this happened 5 1/2 almost 6 years ago i want to make sure i have a divorce cree in hand and that i am not legally bound to him… i have found someone who i love with all my heart and we are now wishing to get married… so i am going to file a divorce to be sure i have a decree in hand but how to i go about notifying my ex in texas since i last knew he was in jail?? thanks so much LeAnne

    20. If you truly don’t know where your husband is, talk to your lawyer in CA about filing for divorce and getting service of process on your husband using publication.

    21. Hi, I am trying to find out if I am divorced , with little luck, I can not affored to go looking on the internet as I am disabeled and on a fixed income. I am wanting to get remarried asap. His name was john E. Seward Sr. and we were married in 1984, If anyone can help I would trulely be greatful!!!

    22. Hi. I have been trying to find out If my husband and I are really divorced. He is in the military and currently living in California while I am back in the Philippines for Immigration purposes. My husband and I we’re doing ok until he became a recruiter and met his boss’s sister. He then pretty much stopped communicating with me. I had to call his CO and write to a couple of his Senior Officers before he called me, and this was in January this year. We spoke a coiple of times in January, and March. He said he was divorcing me and then I never heard from him again. I emailed National Military Family Association about my situation but I was only told that my husband has divorced me already. I have asked the lady from NMFA named Jessica Perdew If she can have my husband/ ex send me the judgment papers or the divorce paper or any proof that we really are divorced..but i never got an answer. How do I find out or get a copy of the divorce papers/judgment papers while I am back here in the Philippines? I have been back here since February 2003. My husband and I got married in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 2001. What should I do to get the papers I need? It’s hard to move on without those papers and I have 2 kids I’m raising. I will really appreciate all your help. More Power!

    23. If you have a buddy in the U.S., ask him or her to check with CA and ask. If you can’t find the divorce papers, you may need to file yourself and force the issue. Remember that if those two children are his, he needs to be providing child support as well.

    24. I have no idea if i am divorced or not and have no idea where my husband is living???? I have not seen him in 13 yrs. How can i find out if i am divorced?

    25. You can check with the individual states where you think Dad is likely to have filed. If you don’t see it there, I’m not aware of any national or international database, so you probably need to go ahead and file for divorce (getting service on your Ex by publication. Then, you know you’re divorced.

    26. I have no idea if i am divorced or not and have no idea where my so called husband is?I have not seen him in 14 years. How can i find out if i am divorced?As we left each othe almost right away and was young 18 years of age and he was much older and not citisen yet. I am from Canada and he was from Haiti, we got maried in a court of law in Montreal Quebec. Please HELP.
      Thank You much!

    27. haven’t seen my spouce in over 12 years. i have no idea where he is and i just want to know if we are divorced or not and how i would obtain a record of the divorce if i am divorced.

    28. HI, how can i find out if my husband is still legally married in Germany? He says he is not, his German ex says he is still legally married to her? She may be playing games, but of course i need to know, as if it is true, then my marriage is not legal. Thankyou~KIM
      I do have some of her info if necessary.

    29. My fiance’ was married over 20 years ago for about 6 months. They haven’t had any contact since then but they’ve never filed for a divorce. Are they still legally married and if so, what does he need to do so that we may be married?

    30. There’s no “common law divorce.” Unless your fiancee’s spouse has filed for divorce in the meantime, he’s still married. And the way for him to know for sure is probably for him to file for divorce now.

    31. It takes tow to get married and one to get divorced! Why? I live in California and my husband divorced me and my children, how can he do this with no reason? I just dont understand how this is leagal. I know it is but when did the law change? and why did it change> It is so sad, the damange done is so huge and lasting.
      when did the law change? It was not always like this.
      I hope I get an answer.

    32. I need some advice on starting a divorce process. I got married to a man in Kuwait in Dec 2007, only to find out that he has been trying to enter into the US for many years. I found multiple emails that tells me that he has plans to marry someone else and that he wanted to marry just for papers. I wish to divorce him, however, I already submitted a petition to the US embassy before I found out these information. I know I need to withdraw the petition and I am in the process of doing that. How do I go about filing the divorce or can I annul the marriage. Thanks

    33. I would be surprised if you can annul this marriage. However, you should be able to obtain a divorce. You can get a divorce wherever you live, but your ability to get a decree governing property settlement and support may depend on the extent to which your husband has submitted to jurisdiction within the state.

    34. hello, i was married on a cruise ship in florida 19 days ago. i just found out that my husband has a girlfriend in indiana. florida law says that i do not qualify for a dissolusion (aka divorce) beacause one or both of us need to have lived in florida for at least 6 months. we both live in ohio. is there any exceptions that could be made due to the fact that we have been married for less than a month and to be married on a cruise ship you do not have to live in florida.
      please help,
      thank you

    35. hi i am trying to find out if im and my wife split approx ten years ago, she moved area. her name is sharon webb before marriage. we got married at wakefield registra in june 94 or 95.. her date of birth is 25.12.1974..

    36. I filed for divorce back in Sept 1999. I paid the paralegal $180 bucks, and he told me to come back after the waiting period. So I did. We filed the second set, or so I thought. Come to find out 3 years later when I hadn’t heard anything, the poor guy died before he had a chance to file the second set. I feel so horrible for being angry at him for messing up like that, but the ex-hubby is such a big “L”. So I pretty much twiddled my thumbs and forgot about the whole thing. Now, I’m afraid that it’s going to be too late, and that I am going to have to start the whole thing all over. Any advice? Thank you for your time?

    37. Your suspicion is well-founded. Unless your state has a most unusual approach to inactive litigation, your case was dismissed long ago, and you’ll need to refile.

    38. I was married in Las Vegas 10 years ago and now live in ENGLAND, Do I need to live in Vegas for a certain amount of time to get Divorced?? Or can I get my Divorce here? Thank you in advance.

    39. Leah, I know nothing about the divorce laws in the UK, but I would assume you would want to file either there or in the jurisdiction where your husband lives. Where you married may get you past some restrictions on personal jurisdiction but won’t give you subject matter jurisdiction.

    40. Hi, I separated from my husband about a year and a half ago. We are both nonUS citizens, and the marriage occured in our country where divorce is not allowed. I am working overseas right now, and have no plans of going back to our country. I was planning to get a divorce from Haiti, since they handle default divorce. My husband is already living with someone else, but he said he will not sign any divorce papers to let me get on with my life. Will the divorce in Haiti(by default since he wont sign) be valid in the US? Thanks.

    41. Hi,i was married 2 times to the same man,in total it’s 31 years now he went to prison and found true love he thinks and she put his name on the divorce papers in other words since she started the papers she signed his name….I know how my husband signs his name and now he wants to stop the process of divorce….What should i do…

    42. YOUR options are limited, but YOUR HUSBAND can easily file a motion to dismiss on the grounds of forgery. If he’s not willing to do that, then I don’t know of much you can do other than let him get divorced, and then think slowly and carefully about whether you want to remarry this man for a third time.

    43. Hi I have a very confusing ordeal I need answers to. I met my husband the end of 1997 I knew he was married to someone else but they had been seperated (not legally) for a year and half, so we just lived together till we got the money up for the divorce which never came. During 2000 I got pregnant with our first child. His wife had been calling every year telling him she remarried to 2-3 different people so I called an attorney and he stated ” you have every grounds since she remarried to marry him” so we did in the end of 2000 in Tennessee. Where they were married is also in Tennessee but a different part of it. Now she is IMing him on myspace saying she wants to get back with him and that she will sign the divorce paper if he gives her a guitar some music cd’s and something else that she has not stated yet, and he keeps asking for a divorce and she refuses to sign the papers.. Now my question is do me and him have to get a divorce or annulled or voided or something before he goes after his and her divorce or divorce her first and then me and then we can remarry?? I really need someone’s expert advice out there.. They did not have any kids and she wants alimony for all these years but they haven’t lived together what can she get if anything.. They got married in August 1996.. PLEASE HELP ME SOMEONE thanks Confused and Lost in TN

    44. I don’t know TN law, and you probably need to visit with someone who does before you act. However, my assumption would be that the main thing your husband needs to do is to get a divorce from his wife, as quickly as possible, with her cooperation if he can, and without it if he must.

      1. My wife and i have been separated. She fell in love with a older woman and they live together. We have been separated for 6 yrs. How would I know that I’m still married or if I can get a divorced?

    45. my questions is from texas, i am doing a pro se divorce and my spouse lives in Dominica, WI how do i change the waiver of service to suit the needs of that country that will be acceptable here in texas? because all the document examples that i have ask for county in the caption portion on the top??

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