I want a divorce, but I cannot locate my spouse. What can I do?
If you have made all efforts to locate your spouse, and he or she cannot be found, Missouri courts will allow service by publication in lieu of personal service. This means that an notice is published in a local legal publication or newspaper for a period of 4 consecutive weeks, and if no response is filed, then the other party is deemed to be served, and a default divorce proceeding can then occur. However, it is very important to understand that the only thing the court can do is dissolve the marriage, and award custody of the children if jurisdiction is proper. The court cannot divide property, award spousal support, child support, attorney fees, or any other money judgment. Also, the Petitioner must sign an affidavit and testify as to the reasons the other spouse cannot be located, and the efforts made to locate them.