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Postby Cordale » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:03 am

A friend got married in Las Vegas back in 2002, and after 2 months his wife left. He has not seen her since, and has no idea how to get ahold of her. How does he disolve the marriage? He's now in San Bernardino County.
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Postby Karina » Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:14 am

Hi Connie,

If he's been living in California for 6 months and San Bernardino County for 3 months, he can file for divorce in California.  The filing is just like any divorce filing - he'll need a Petition and Summons, along with a $355 filing fee.  You can find the forms online at courtinfo.ca.gov or ezlegalfile.org.  The local family law facilitator, who is probably located at the family law courthouse, will also have hard copies of the forms available.  

Where the case gets a bit tricky is that he needs to serve his wife.  Since he has no idea where she is or how to find her, he will have to ask the Court for permission to serve her by publication(printing notice in the newspaper).  Before doing so, he will need to put forth substantial efforts to find her and then let the Court know about his attempts to do so.  For example, when I have petitioned for service by publication, I have had to show that I've done substantial online research trying to find the person.  If there were known family members, I had to try to find them to ask for the person's whereabouts.  Each judge has a different standard as to what he or she thinks is sufficient "work" on your friend's part, so it's a little bit on a case-by-case basis.

Your friend really is better off using an attorney in this situation.  This method of service isn't done routinely, so a paralegal or even the family law facilitator won't be much help to him.  

Best of luck!

Cristin M. Lowe, Esq.
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