How to Divorce a Missing Husband in Mississippi

by Jim Thomas

If your husband skips out on your marriage and disappears, it complicates the divorce process, but it won't stop you from dissolving your marriage. All 50 states, including Mississippi, allow no-fault divorce, leaving you to divorce on the grounds your marital relationship is irreconcilable. However, a petition for divorce requires you to serve notice of the divorce on your husband; therefore, you must prove to the court's satisfaction that you did everything possible to track him down in order to finalize the divorce.

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Filing Requirements

To file for divorce you must be a state resident for six months. The petition for divorce is filed with the clerk's office in the county where you're living. If you file for a no-fault divorce, there is a 60-day minimum waiting period before the divorce can be granted. If you are filing for a fault divorce in Mississippi -- grounds for such a divorce include adultery and impotence -- you are required to notify your husband at least 30 days before your case is scheduled to be heard in family court. If you are pregnant, your case usually will be postponed until the child is born.

Search for Spouse

Mississippi law requires a "diligent inquiry" to show you've genuinely tried to find your missing husband. There are many ways to show the court you've made such an effort. You can ask the US Postal Service, under the Freedom of Information Act, for his current address, contact his last known employer, contact his relatives, search law enforcement arrest and criminal records, contact the DMV for his last known address, or ask utility companies for address information.

Affidavit of Diligent Search

If your search fails to turn up your missing husband, you'll want to file an affidavit of diligent search with the county clerk stating your missing spouse is considered to be a "nonresident of this state or not to be found therein on diligent inquiry." If the court approves the affidavit, the clerk will issue a summons for your husband to appear. At this point, you can go through the publication process to finalize the divorce.

Publication Process

The publication process requires you to file the summons from the court clerk in a local newspaper in the county where the divorce petition was initiated. The summons must be published once per week for three consecutive weeks. After publication is completed, your missing husband is legally considered to have been served. He then has 30 days from the date of the first week of publication to appear and object to your divorce petition. If your spouse has not surfaced by then, the court considers the action to be uncontested. A hearing to finalize your divorce completes the process. Absent your husband, the judge will issue a divorce decree, which resolves all matters requested in your divorce petition in your favor.