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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    225 thoughts on “Am I Divorced?”

    1. Hello,

      My fiance’ was abandoned by his wife about 10 years ago,
      Neither he nor her family have heard from her since and
      she is presumed dead, she was very mentaly ill and a hard drug addict.

      Does he still have to file for divorce in order to marry me?
      He was married in Washington state, USA.

      Thank You for your help

    2. If a person was married in june and their final divorce decree wasn’t until July are they married?

    3. my husband lives in new york state. How can I find out if he has married again and still married to me. Or if he has divorced me already and I don’t know it?

    4. Please help! My husband and I got married in 2006 after we had been together since 2003. He had a previous marriage in 2003 and after they seperated he never heard from her again. She moved from state to state so often we could not find her. She had said when she left she would take care of the divorce. We have no proof and when we moved to texas this year, their son told family that they were not divorced. Am I married to my husband or not?

    5. Yes, you’re married, but your husband has a problem he needs to address. He needs to file for divorce and swear (apparently truthfully) that he doesn’t know where his first wife is and can’t find it out. Tell him to get the lead out and the decree signed. And don’t make the same mistake he did; insist on seeing the signed decree.

      1. I got married to my husband two years ago and he had been separated over 15 years they thought they were divorced because he signed then she sign the divorce papers but come to find out it was never notarized what can we do they had no children together she left the marriage he tried to get her back but she never wanted him back they have only been married 11 months

    6. My brother was married in 2005. in 2006 his wife moved to nevada taking with her their 1y/o son,without his consent. he continues to reside in california. she refuses to allow him to see his son or provide him with any contact information. he has since filed for divorce. he is willing to give up all paternal rights at her request, is there such a thing and would that relieve him of financial responsibility for their child?

    7. Yes, there is such a thing, and no, it wouldn’t relieve him of financial responsibility unless Mom has a new daddy waiting in the wings ready to adopt the child, because no judge I know would intentionally bastardize a child.

    8. Hi I was Married I Reno Nevada . Then moved to fallbrookCa. My husband went a-wall and I haven’t seen him since How do I find out if Im divorced. Have no idea were he might be

    9. My wife and I are USA citizens that were married in 1999 in England. WE are looking at divorcing in the USA and our question is; were there any procedures I would have had to follow to register our marriage to make it legal or was the marriage legal automatically?

    10. This isn’t my area, but I have a layman’s impression that the US has reciprocal treaties with all major industrialized nations and most of the others that, among other things, mean they recognize each other’s marriages.

      Don’t scrimp. If you want to be single, you’ll need to get a divorce.

    11. I was seperated from my husband sixty years ago. He claims he divorced me and remarried his second wife in 1950 and they divorced in 1953. Now my current husband which I married in 1958 claims we were never married and wants our marriage annulled. What are my legal rights now? My second married was over fifty years. Now he says I have no rights to his pensions or property. What doI do now?

    12. My spouse and I have been separated for 4 years and I have not filed for support, If I file for child support now will he have to pay for the last 4 years?

    13. My friend wants to divorce his wife who has been living in England for the past 2 years. They were married in Las Vegas, Nevada. How can he divorce his wife? Can she be served just by mailing the divorce papers that he can file in California where he now lives?

    14. Hard to say. This one presents enough questions and challenges that I would be reluctant to spend the time and money doing that without at least consulting with an experienced CA family lawyer.

    15. I just found out that the man I was married to passed away six years ago, We have not been together since 1998,But I don”t know if I Was still Married to him or not.Can you please tell Me what I can do to find out?

    16. I was married in Lynchburg, VA. on Oct. 11th, 1994. We seperated on Jan. 10th, 1995, I found him with a young man. I haven’t seen him since June of 1995. I want a divorce, and don’t really know how about getting one, or did he divorce me and I don’t know about it. I heard he moved, but don’t know where. I haven’t seen him in 14 yrs. I now live in Ohio. What now?

    17. Question: My boyfried field for a divorce in 2004. The papers were signed and finally sent into the courts for judges signature 16 months ago. He is still waiting for the final decree. Is there any way that we can find out what is holding up the process? The lawyer has told us that there is nothing that he can do.

    18. Hi, I got married in California 4 years ago and have been living in California. Can I divorce in Las Vegas?

    19. Hi, I was married in the late 90s. We seperated ac ouple years later and finally divorced, or so I believed, about 4 years later. I remarried in 2004. Now I am being told, we are trying to adopt some children, that courts can not find my divorce decree. We live in one state, I was previously married in another, and the children and court proceedings are in yet another.
      If we cannot locate a divorce decree, is my current marriage of 5 years still valid? I mean, seriously,we’ve been husband and wife now for years, built a life together, had a child…what happens?

    20. Talk to a lawyer in the state where you now live. You can file for divorce there. If you know where your former spouse lives, you’ll need to serve him or her personally. If not, you’ll be able to get service by certified mail.

    21. My fiancee is trying to find out if he is still married. The problem is he is from Syria and he is living there now, and he can’t locate his wife anywhere. He moved here a few years ago, and she left right after the wedding ceremony. The wedding was never even consumated, when he couldn’t find her he went back to Syria. She filed an adjustment of status for him and he left while it was still pending, so he knows they won’t even give him a visa to come back and straighten this mess out. His lawyers in Syria say they can’t help him either. please help!!!!!! thank you so much!!!!!

    22. hi, i got married in the uk in november 2003. my husband and i seperated in september 2005 and have had no contact since. in january 2007 i received his petition for divorce which i agreed to. i haven’t heard anything since and am confused as to whether i am divorced or not. is there anyway that i can find out? i have no idea where my ex husband lives and have no way of contacting him.

    23. Hi I have a friend that wants to get a divorce in the State of Texas, they have no real property together and no children. He is not sure how to contact the wife, but is afraid that if he does through others and find her she will not signed off on the divorce papers what can he do to get a divorce granted and what time frame is he looking at.

    24. Yes, that’s a real concern. However, he should know that in most states he will need to prove that he doesn’t know where his wife is AND CANNOT WITH REASONABLE DILIGENCE ASCERTAIN her whereabouts. If he knows he could find her just by calling Rose, he can’t just decide not to call Rose and then swear he has no way of finding her. Actually, I guess he could, but he would be committing perjury to do so.

    25. I was married in 2004, 5 months later I found out he was still msrried to his first wife at the time we married. He said he had never been married and this is what he put on the papers that we signed when getting a lisence. I need to know what do I do? I’ve turned to leagal aide and they said they couldn’t help me unless he was at.I don’t know where he is. I never changed my name or anything of that nature. I’m in a relationship and we have been discussing marrige. I don’t know if I can married again or not? Just want my name cleared from off the books in my state so I can move on.

    26. I was married in NJ, but divorced in Pa because that’s where we had moved. I moved back to NJ and now want to get married again. Do I have to register my divorce in NJ or is the divorce decree valid everywhere? I don’t want to run into a problem at the last minute when I go to register for a license.

    27. My boy friend has been separated for 18yr.now we just found out his wife has been remarried for almost 2 yrs. He went to court 18yrs.ago the divorce was not granted than. We tried to look up court records but can’t find anything . We did fined her marriage lic. He has raised his only son which is now 20yrs. old as of July of this year. PLEASE HELP AZ.

    28. I don’t know what you’re asking, but the fact that your boyfriend’s wife has remarried certainly doesn’t guarantee your boyfriend is now single. If you want to make sure (and trust me, you do), you need to see a divorce decree, either one he obtains or one his wife provides to him.

    29. Does anyone know if you have to live 6 consecutive weeks in Nevada prior to filing for a divorce?

    30. Hi
      My Mother is concerned about her Social Security wages. It says that your ex-spouse can collect your earnings if you were married for more than 10 years. I know my parents were married in a court house in 1980 but then seperated 2 years later, neither one of them knows if they are divorced. Is there a way I can look up this info online and preferably for free?

    31. It’s possible your father will be able to receive Social Security based on your mother’s earnings, but it won’t change her Social Security benefit at all, so that shouldn’t be an issue to her.

      I’m aware of no way you can check online to find out if your mother is divorced. The foolproof solution, if she and your dad aren’t talking, is to file for divorce now.

    32. in 2005 my husband and i seperated. not legally, i just moved out for a while. we talked every week and only discussed divorce once in may 2007. after that, i never heard from him again. im still with my family now, but until nov 2008 i thought he had just abandoned me. no return calls, mail or email, not even from his family. in nov 2008 i found out that in july of 07 he died. when i finally got a copy of his death certificate, it said we were divorced…
      how do i find out if this was true???? i wasnt aware that it was possible to get divorced without the other persons knowledge or signature or something?
      i really need help with this.

    33. Did you read the original note? I would start with the state where you think he lived after you and he separated. If there’s no record of a divorce there, I would look in the next two or three most likely states. If you don’t see it after then, I would encourage you to give up looking.

      You may want to read this page: http://www.divorceinfo.com/deathafterdivorce.htm . It’s about the peculiar pain of dealing with the death of your divorced spouse.

    34. i want to know if im leagely divorced from my husband from the state of michigan ive lost track of hhim and realy would like to know do to a death in the family

    35. I would like to know if I am divorced so that I can get on with my life- MY so-called wife’s name is Nola shantell Bassett (if you need her social security number I do have it). we separated in 1994 and we have had no further contact with each other. I’m sure she is willing to divorce me if she hasn’t already.

    36. my husband and i have been seperated for 4 yrs.i have no idea where he is.I was wanting to get married to another man but i don’t even know he has divorced me.He draws a disability check and it was based on what i made a month and they had told him if he were single that he would draw more a month,that why i think he probably filed for a divorce but i don’t know.I know that his family lives in New Jersey (Newark or Teaneck) but do not know how to reach them.HELP

    37. I was married on July 10, 1990 to an african man, i found out later in the marriage that he was married in his country to another woman. I filed papers down at immigration to annaul the marriage, I was told that I would receive info on the annaulment . However I moved to Ga to get away from him. I want to know am I still married. Years later he told me he was married to another american woman.

    38. I don’t know anything new to tell you. There’s no way I know to confirm if you are still married to a spouse you can’t find, so the safest course is to file for divorce.

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