According to romantic attachment studies, the pain caused by an absent spouse can cause long-term separation anxiety. As time marches on, the risk of developing depression, anxiety and sleep problems markedly increases. Therefore, it may be within your best interest to divorce your missing spouse and move on with your life. Although this seems harsh, the clean break and fresh start can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health over time. To complete the divorce process without your spouse present, you must go through the proper channels to satisfy the requirements of the Texas court system. Read on to understand the steps you will have to take to acquire a divorce from your missing spouse.

Make a Good Faith Effort to Find Your Spouse

Even if you harbor anger or frustration with your missing spouse, you must conduct a diligent search before filing for a divorce in their absence. You should use every online and in-person search method at your disposal in your attempts to find your spouse.

Search methods you should use include:

  • Post on social media channels
  • Browse local directory resources
  • Conduct an online people finder search
  • Review property tax records
  • Arrive onsite at last known good address
  • Talk to family and friends

You can also check voter registration records, jail registries and military rosters to successfully rule out all search avenues. If your missing spouse can prove you did not conduct a diligent search, he or she may be able to request a new trial at any point in the future.

Give Notice by Posting or Publication

The Texas court rules state that you must file notice by posting or publication to give your missing spouse adequate time to respond to your intentions. If you have children with your spouse, you may only give notice by publication in a local newspaper. Otherwise, you can post a notice at the courthouse.

To file a notice by publication, you must fill out and notarize an Affidavit for Citation by Publication and pay for the post to run in your local or legal newspaper. Upon receipt of this request, your County Clerk will issue a confirmation document, or Return of Citation, which you must file with the courthouse to confirm your adherence to the court rules.

When kids are not involved in the case, the posting requirements are much simpler to execute. You just have to fill out and submit an Affidavit for Citation by Posting to your County Clerk. The posting will remain in the courthouse for seven days after its submission. Upon completing this step, you will receive a Return of Citation, which you must file with the clerk. I personally would go the extra step and post in the local or legal newspaper.

When either children or high value assets are involved, you will also need to hire an attorney to conduct an independent search for your missing spouse.  The attorney is usually appointed by the court and is call an “Attorney Ad Litem”. The Judge will assign the Attorney Ad Litem to your case but you will have to pay the necessary fees that are billed by the attorney to you. This person will do some additional research in an effort to find your spouse and will provide the search results to the court. If the attorney is able to find your spouse, they will provide you with the address so that you can serve your spouse with the divorce petition. On the other hand, if the attorney is unable to find your spouse you will need to ask the court for permission to move forward with your divorce.

Fulfill the Waiting Period

After creating your publication notice, you must wait 30 days for your missing spouse to appear. For the notice by posting requirement, you must wait 60 days after filing your Petition for Divorce or about 30 days after posting. During this wait period, it is within your best interest to continue conducting your earlier search efforts. If you go through the divorce without your spouse present, your missing spouse has two years to challenge the results of the court proceedings and request a new trial.

File the Remaining Legal Documents

At the end of the required wait period, you can obtain, fill out and notarize the remaining legal documents required for your divorce. The divorce paperwork you will need to complete this kind of divorce includes, a Petitioner’s Supporting Affidavit, Final Decree of Divorce, Motion and Order for Substitution of service and your spouse’s last known address.  You may also need to submit a Military Status Declaration to confirm your spouses’ military involvement, or lack thereof, to the best of your knowledge if the court requires it.  You can talk to the County Clerk and try obtain the documents you need for posting notice at the court house and doing your divorce by publication but more than likely they will give you excuse they are not able to advise you with your case. For all the documents you need to complete a divorce where your spouse is missing, visit DIY Texas Divorce.

Continue Your DIY Divorce Education Journey

Learn all you can about navigating the divorce process on your own from DIY Texas Divorce. The information on the site and videos will teach you how to complete your divorce by publication from start to finish and provide you with every document you need. By taking this process into your own hands, you will save time and money while reducing your stress levels considerably. If I can be of service in anyway, please email me at or book a FREE call with me by clicking here.