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  • Writer's pictureMelanie J Bowbell

What to do if you cannot locate a spouse you want to divorce


melanie bowbell
melanie bowbell divorce lawyer

Getting divorced when you cannot locate your spouse can be a challenging situation, but it's not impossible. In Alberta, Canada, the legal process for this scenario is known as a "Divorce by Special Dispensation."




Here's a step-by-step explanation of how to proceed:

  1. Consult with a Family Lawyer: Begin by consulting with a family lawyer who specializes in divorce cases. They can guide you through the legal requirements, paperwork, and steps necessary for obtaining a divorce when your spouse cannot be located.

  2. Attempt to Locate Your Spouse: Before proceeding with the special dispensation process, you should make reasonable efforts to locate your spouse. This can include reaching out to mutual acquaintances, checking last-known addresses, using social media, and exploring other resources to try to find them.

  3. File an Affidavit of Attempted Service: If your efforts to locate your spouse are unsuccessful, your lawyer will help you prepare an Affidavit of Attempted Service. This document outlines your efforts to find your spouse, detailing the methods you've used and the results of your searches.

  4. Application for Special Dispensation: With the Affidavit of Attempted Service prepared, you can then file an Application for Special Dispensation with the court. This application outlines the reasons why you are unable to locate your spouse and requests permission to proceed with the divorce without their direct involvement.

  5. Court Review: The court will review your application and consider your circumstances. If they find that you have made reasonable attempts to locate your spouse and there is a legitimate reason for proceeding with the divorce, they may grant the special dispensation.

  6. Public Notice: In some cases, the court may require you to publish a notice in a local newspaper or other appropriate publication, notifying your spouse of the divorce proceedings. This is a way to ensure that your spouse has an opportunity to respond even if they cannot be located directly.

  7. Court Decision: After reviewing your application and any additional information, the court will make a decision regarding your request for a divorce by special dispensation. If approved, the court will issue a divorce judgment.

  8. Divorce Judgment: Once the divorce judgment is issued, you are legally divorced. You will receive a copy of the divorce certificate, which you can use to update your legal status.

Keep in mind that divorce laws and procedures can vary, and the information provided here is a general guideline. It's important to consult with a qualified family lawyer in Alberta to navigate this process effectively and ensure that you meet all the legal requirements.

Divorcing when you cannot locate your spouse can be complex, but with the right legal guidance, you can navigate the process and move forward with your life.

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