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Can You Still File for Divorce if Your Spouse Has Already Moved Out of State?

Deciding to get a divorce is a major life decision that can have a big impact on you. Trying to figure out the divorce process and who gets what can be stressful, especially if there has been a breakdown in communication between you and your spouse. In addition to the usual concerns a divorce presents, not knowing where your spouse is located, or trying to arrange a divorce if your spouse has moved out of state, can add extra strain on you during the filing process.

In order to file for a divorce in Oklahoma, you first must comply with the state’s residency requirements, which stipulate that at least one spouse must be a state resident for six months or more before filing for divorce. Therefore, even if your spouse has moved out of state, you can still file for a divorce as long as you’ve lived in Oklahoma for six months.

One issue you might run into when trying to get a divorce if your spouse is out of state or hard to locate is serving them with divorce papers. This is usually done through a private service company or a sheriff’s office. They will need a current address for your spouse in order to complete the service process. Once your spouse has been served, you must submit proof of service to the court, and then your divorce can officially begin to be processed.

If your spouse has moved out of state, but you know their new address, you can hire a process server or contact the sheriff’s office in that state to serve your spouse with the divorce papers. If you don’t know where your spouse is, and no one can help you track them down, the court may authorize alternative methods of service.

Before allowing use of an alternative service method, a court will want you to see proof that you’ve made multiple attempts to find your spouse, including serving them at their last known home address, employer’s address or any other location they might be found.

If the court permits alternative service, the most common method is through publication, which could include posting a notice in a local newspaper. The court will have specific regulations as to what you are required to post for your service by publication to be valid.

After you’ve completed your alternative service method requirements, your spouse has a certain amount of time to respond to the divorce petition. If they never respond, you can be granted a default divorce, without your spouse being involved.

An attorney who regularly handles divorce cases can guide you through the best strategy for your divorce and assist with any complications, like an uncooperative spouse. Lindsey Law Firm, P.C. in Tulsa, Oklahoma is here to support you through your divorce. To schedule a free consultation, call the firm at 918-587-0097 or contact the firm online.

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  • Tulsa Office
    1612 S Denver Ave.
    Tulsa, Oklahoma 74119
    Phone: 918-587-0097
    Fax: 918-587-3763
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