A divorce by publication is a divorce procedure typically entered into in situations where one of the spouses either cannot be located or refuses to assist in the divorce proceedings. In the United States, the actual process and legality of a divorce by publication depends on the state in which the procedure is to be executed. Anyone wishing to move forward with such an action should consult an attorney or familiarize himself or herself with state law regarding the procedure. In general, however, the process involves publication of divorce notification in a newspaper of record and then a final divorce judgment ordered by a judge.
Though different states and countries have different laws regarding the legitimacy and completion of a divorce by publication, the general steps taken to execute one are to begin by filing much of the same paperwork as would be needed in any other type of divorce. This can be done by a private citizen or with the assistance of an attorney. The divorce paperwork should then be mailed to the last known residence of the other party in the divorce, preferably through registered mail for evidence of delivery or failure of delivery. A divorce by publication then, quite literally, goes into publication as the paperwork is taken to a newspaper of record in the region where the divorce is taking place and published in the legal section.
The person executing the divorce must then wait a certain period, typically around 30 days or four weeks, and may have to pay to have the divorce notice published in the newspaper once a week for that time. A copy of the newspaper may also need to be mailed to the last known residence of the other party in the divorce; once again it is best to use registered mail to indicate delivery or failure of delivery. All of these steps may not always be followed, depending on the state or country where the divorce is being executed, but many of them are common practice.
After the necessary period of time has passed, the applicant for the divorce takes the paperwork, along with proof of publication of the divorce notice and the attempt to deliver the paperwork to the other party, to a final legal ruling. If all the necessary steps are correctly followed, then the divorce will typically be finalized and the judge will generally rule in favor of the applicant. Since this is performed when the other party cannot be found or refuses to show up for divorce proceedings, there are seldom any opportunities for aspects of the divorce to be contested or amended by the absentee party.