How Do I Serve My Spouse For a Divorce If I Can’t Find Them? (Part 2)

Want to serve your spouse but you don’t know where they are? Don’t worry – divorce is still an option!


Welcome back and thanks for joining us for this discussion about what to do when you want to get divorced in Michigan and can’t find your spouse. In our previous article we talked about what a Michigan resident would be required to do if they wanted to get divorced and couldn’t find their spouse. This included making a diligent effort, and proving your efforts to a Judge. Moving forward, we’re going to look at the next step in the process.


What if I search and can’t find them anywhere?


If your search yields no results, and you’ve proven to the court that you made every effort, you’ll need to complete a Motion and Verification for Alternative Service. This tells the court what efforts you made to locate your missing spouse, and also asks permission to publish a notice of divorce.


If the Court approves the motion, you can either prepare an Order for Alternative Service or an Order for Service by Publication/Posting and Notice of Action. This sounds confusing, but it’s actually quite simple.



  • Order for Alternative Service:


This order, which requires proof of service, is used if you want to serve process on a missing spouse by the following methods:

  • Sending it to them via first class mail,
  • Tacking it firmly to their door, or
  • Delivering it to a responsible member of the household.



  • Order of Notice by Publication:


This is a formal statement that you intend to divorce your spouse, which you would publish in the newspaper or post in the courthouse. The notice should be run for 21 days in order to give your spouse enough time to respond. Your spouse is required to respond to the notice if they see it.


What happens if they don’t respond to the notice?


There’s always the chance that your spouse doesn’t read the paper. Or have contact with any of the people they used to work with or spend time with. Perhaps they moved away, out of state or even abroad, and have no contact with their former life. In that case, if your spouse wasn’t located during your diligent search and didn’t respond to the notice by publication or order for alternative service, the divorce action will proceed as an uncontested default.    


So how does a divorce happen if you still can’t find your spouse?


Technically, at this point, the court can grant you a divorce. Also, with regards to child custody, separation of property, and child or spousal support, if the missing spouse is ‘defaulted’, you can submit a motion for default judgement. A motion must be filed, which the Judge will review for fairness and equality. If everything is deemed to be in order, the final Judgement of Divorce can be entered after the hearing.


Make sure you have a skilled divorce lawyer on your side!


These types of divorces are relatively rare, and can leave a person without the closure that often comes with a standard divorce process. Not being able to address issues like custody and division of assets can complicate things. For this reason, it’s very important that you have a skilled family law attorney on your side. So call The Kronzek Firm today at 866 766 5245 and schedule your free consultation. We can help you prepare for your future.