How to Get Divorced From an Estranged Husband

By Cindy Hill

Emotional estrangement between spouses is often a precursor to divorce. Physical estrangement, or living apart, is a necessary element of many legal grounds for divorce as it provides proof of abandonment, irreconcilable differences, or the separation necessary to qualify for no-fault divorce. You can divorce an emotionally or physically estranged husband by filing for divorce from him in accordance with the rules and procedures of your local family law court.

Estrangement and Separation

Estrangement and separation are not necessarily considered the same thing from a legal perspective. Spouses may consider themselves estranged, yet still be living in the same house. Whether this qualifies as abandonment, separation or living apart for purposes of divorce filings varies from state to state. Physically living apart does not necessarily automatically qualify as separation from a divorce court perspective either. Continued social interactions can negate an assertion that a couple is living separate and apart for purposes of a no-fault divorce filing, whereas living in the same house but discontinuing intimate relations may qualify as grounds of abandonment or irreconcilable differences in a divorce filed for fault. Confer with your local family court clerk's office or consult a qualified divorce attorney in your jurisdiction to determine how the conditions of your estrangement from your husband intersect with local divorce requirements.

Legal Separation

A legal separation may also be referred to in some jurisdictions as a limited divorce. A legal separation does not terminate the marriage, and no grounds or reasons need to be stated to obtain a legal separation. Unlike an informal physical separation or estrangement, a legal separation initiates a court action to determine issues like paying child support or spousal support, dividing household bills, and setting schedules for child visitation. Filing for legal separation from your estranged husband can compel discussions about the relationship and the practical considerations that need to be resolved for divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Conversion Divorce

If two spouses are not only physically or emotionally estranged, but also legally separated, they may attain a conversion divorce after a set period of time prescribed by the laws of the state in which the separation has been filed. A conversion divorce changes the court-issued separation order, or court-approved separation agreement, into a permanent divorce decree. A conversion divorce can often be the fastest and most efficient route to a divorce, as the legal separation period has given both parties a chance to work out any financial and emotional issues.


If your spouse is not only estranged but long gone, you may need to use an alternative method of serving the divorce papers. When a spouse cannot be located, most states allow the notice that a divorce has been filed to be served by publication in the legal notices of local newspapers. Some divorce courts may require you to demonstrate that you have taken substantial steps to locate your missing spouse before they will allow divorce notice by publication. These steps may include sending letters by certified mail to their last known places of residence or employment, checking motor vehicle and voter registration records, contacting former friends or relatives, and looking through phone books.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to File for Divorce If Your Husband Is in Jail


Related articles

Indiana Laws for Separation Before Divorce

Indiana law provides couples with two options if they want to end or change their marital relationship: dissolution of marriage, which is a divorce, or legal separation. A dissolution of marriage officially ends a marriage, while a legally separation simply allows the couple to live apart for a specified amount of time to decide whether they want to save the marriage or divorce. Before seeking a legal separation, it’s essential to know the rights and responsibilities of each party.

Grounds for Divorce in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Divorce in North Carolina is governed by state law. Whether you are in Fayetteville, Durham or Ashville, the grounds for divorce are the same. North Carolina is a no-fault state; therefore, you don't need to prove your spouse caused the end of your marriage. Separation for one year and incurable insanity are the only grounds for divorce in North Carolina. A handful of grounds exist for obtaining a legal separation in North Carolina, however, they are rarely used.

How to File for Divorce in the State of Arkansas

In Arkansas, the requirements for divorce vary depending on how you were married. The state recognizes both standard marriages and what are known as covenant marriages. In a covenant marriage a couple takes an oath of understanding that marriage is a lifelong commitment. Nonetheless, a divorce may still be granted for covenant marriages after completion of counseling and a court-ordered separation. Understanding the requirements for filing a divorce for regular and covenant marriages in Arkansas will help ensure that you avoid unnecessary delays in the divorce process.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Legal Separation Enforcement in Maryland vs. Divorce

Maryland offers two types of divorce: limited and absolute. When a couple wishes to separate and is not ready to ...

Texas Divorce Due to Abandonment of Deported Illegal Aliens

Although there is no specific reference to illegal aliens in the Texas Family Code, deportation of an illegal alien ...

How Long Do You Have to Be Separated to Get a Divorce in Virginia?

If your marriage is no longer working, you have the option of filing for legal separation or divorce. Unfortunately, in ...

How to Change Your Last Name in Illinois

Changing your last name due to marriage or divorce is relatively simple in Illinois: you need only present your ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED