Divorce With Missing Spouse

by Mary from Orlando, Florida, Orange County

My brother has been separated for about 10yrs and don't know where his wife moved. What to do and how much will cost the divorce?

Answer to Florida Divorce Question

Dear Mary,

Filing fees for divorce are the same for all Florida divorce petitions -- currently $408.00.

An Application for Civil Indigent Status can be filed with the clerk of court, and if your brother qualifies, filing fees may be waived.

Your brother needs to conduct a search for his ex before he files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

If there are no children and no property of the marriage then he would file Supreme Court approved form, Form 12.901(b)(3) Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

The form for the search is 12.913(b), Diligent Search and Inquiry. Instructions for Diligent Search and Inquiry state in part:

This form is to be used with Notice of Action for Dissolution of Marriage, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.913(a), to obtain constructive service (also called service by publication) in a dissolution of marriage case.

This form includes a checklist of places you can look for information on the location of your spouse.

While you do not have to look in all of these places, the court must believe that you have made a
very serious effort to get information about your spouse’s location and that you have followed up on any information you received.

If, after going through a search for his ex, your brother is still unable to find her, he would then file a Notice Of Action for Dissolution of Marriage, Form 12.913(b). At that point, the clerk of court can help him with the proper language and periodicals to use to advertise his intention of divorcing his wife.

The advertisement of his intention to divorce must be published for several weeks in a periodical or newspaper with a minimum circulation set by law. Then if his ex does not come forward or file an answer through the courts, a court hearing may be set for the dissolution of marriage.

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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