Missing Spouse Simple Divorce

by Alicia from Bartow, Florida, Polk County

I have been separated from my spouse for over 15 years now, and just haven't gotten divorced because I couldn't afford it and I really never was in a hurry to do so.


But now I am planning on getting remarried and I have to get a divorce first.

Is there a way of getting my divorce done quickly without having to go through a lawyer and having to pay too much court costs? As for children, I have one daughter under his name but he is not the biological father, and she is already 30 years old.

I think it's been over 20 years that we know nothing of him. He just took off and left for Mexico. Please let me know what I can do in this case. Thank you.

Answer to Florida Court Forms Question

Dear Alicia,

Your daughter that is age 30 is grown and the courts do not consider her at all in a divorce.

You can proceed as if you had no children, because she is not a minor.

There is a process where you can advertise your intent to divorce, called constructive service.

Before you are allowed to notify your ex by constructive service of your intention to divorce him you must search for him.

There is a form on the Florida Supreme Court's website, www.flcourts.org titled Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry. On that form is a list of about 20 places and ways that you must search for him -- places like his last known address; prisons; hospitals; the military; etc.

If you are still unable to locate him, then you file that Affidavit with the court along with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and all of the supporting documents.

The clerk of court will guide you, as far as where and how to advertise.

If he does not respond then you may proceed with a divorce, request a court hearing, and you're free to marry again.

If the cost of filing for divorce seems expensive, and I agree, you may qualify for Civil Indigent Status.

The application for civil indigence status is also on the Florida Supreme Court's website.

It is a two page form where you fill in your income and expenses. The clerk of court makes the determination as to whether you qualify, and if you do your filing fee will be waived.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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