Splitting But Your Spouse Goes Missing?

As the old saying goes, “Nothing lasts forever.” And for some Aussies, it includes marriage.

A lot of people get married hoping that marital bliss will remain forever. But the reality is that two (2) out of every 1,000 Australians get divorced each year for various reasons. Research shows that the divorce rate was highest for those who have been married for nine (9) years or less.

A lot of couples separate before they file for divorce. Sometimes, the spouses are no longer communicating with each other or one moves to another city or country.

What if you want to call it quits but you can’t find your spouse? Can one spouse still be able to file for divorce? According to divorce lawyers in Adelaide, the answer is yes.

Although not being able to track your spouse makes the process more complicated, filing for divorce under this circumstance is still possible.

If after making reasonable attempts you are still unable to track your spouse and serve the divorce papers, you can go to the Court to apply for either a dispensation of service or substituted service.


Substituted service

Substituted service is a process where you are allowed by the Court to serve documents indirectly through a court-approved friend or family member. Modes of substituted service include posting the documents to the spouse’s known address or emailing the documents to the email address that they are using. The documents may also be served at their workplace.

Dispensation of service

Dispensation of service means that personal service of court documents on your spouse is no longer needed if the Court believes that you have made every reasonable means to locate them.

In this process, the spouse seeking a divorce must demonstrate to the court all the reasonable attempts made through an Affidavit prepared with the help of your family lawyer. The Affidavit should outline the following information:

  • All attempts and efforts you made to find the respondent-spouse
  • The last known address of the respondent
  • When you last spoke to or communicated with the respondent 
  • Enquiries made to the respondent’s family members, friends, and relatives and if there are any replies received
  • Enquiries made to the respondent spouse’ employer
  • Information about child support arrangement

If your spouse is living overseas, information about the country that they are residing in, how long they have been staying there, and if they intend to return to Australia

The costs you may have incurred in locating your spouse and if you are having financial difficulties in taking care of those costs. Any other information that may be helpful to the Court

It’s not uncommon for one spouse to go off-the-grid following a separation. For this reason, the Court provides the spouse seeking divorce with alternatives other than personal service of court documents.

If you’re based in South Australia and you’re seeking for divorce, go only to the best divorce lawyers in Adelaide. They have the experience and legal expertise to help you go through the process and can assist you with substituted service or dispensation of service.

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