We both agreed to a Mutual Divorce. Everything was going smoothly, the initial documents were accepted and filed. However, after the 90-day waiting period was up, my soon to be ex-spouse “defendant” disappeared. Defendant no longer will return any divorce documents; my calls; and did not update their address. It has been several months and I would like a divorce, what do I do?
Regarding domestic matters, no matter what one thinks, or is advised by family, friends, or whomever, it is always best to have an advocate on your side.
For starters, all is good, as long as the Divorce Compliant was properly served and documentation of the service was filed with the Court within 30-days. If not, then one may have to jump through some more hoops to get things filed and served.
As with anything regarding Family Law, the best approach is to always be agreeable. The more one fights and disagrees, the more it will cost, even if you are Pro Se.
Having the defendant basically disappear by moving, not updating you, and no longer accepting the divorce documents, nor returning calls is more common than one thinks. This occurs for many reasons one of which is that the defendant simply does not care anymore, and does not want to be bothered, which is actually good.
As long as both parties lived separate and apart for two (2) years, this could even be while living in the same home, one can still get a no fault divorce, as long as the Divorce Complaint, if it was filed Pro Se includes a count for a Mutual Consent Divorce and Irretrievable breakdown Divorce, if not then one would have amend the complaint and reserve the complaint, which would take further steps to complete service since the defendant is no cooperating anymore and their whereabouts are unknown.
Original service of the Divorce Complaint can be served by: the Sheriff; Process Server; USPS Certified Mail and Regular Mail; or defendant can acceptance service.
Again, as long as both parties have lived separate and apart for two (2) years, one can still get their divorce by filing the necessary documents for an Irretrievable breakdown Divorce.
Once the correct documents are filed and twenty (20) days have gone by with no response from the defendant, by not responding or filing ones claims with the Court they are waiving there rights on those claims, ones divorce should be granted. However, it most be noted, that when the defendant, who is no represented, and does not respond or file anything with the Court, does not object to the divorce, some Judges have been requiring additional steps to grant the divorce.
And those additional steps are usually having the defendant agree to withdraw or stipulate to any, Equitable Distribution issues, or one must file a motion to withdraw any and all additional counts of the Divorce Complaint that do not pertain to the no fault divorce counts for Mutual and Irretrievable breakdown.
After the motion is filed, the defendant would have an additional thirty (30) days to respond. If, the defendant does not respond, then the motion should be granted and the divorce decree issued.
This is just brief blog on some problems with Mutual Divorces.
It is always wise to have an advocate on your side.
Feel free to walk in the Pottstown Office, located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.