Divorce DecreeThis is the next post in my series on filing for a Las Vegas divorce when one’s spouse is no longer in Nevada. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will address and stressed the need to contact an attorney if you find yourself in such a situation. It is important to understand that you can obtain a divorce even if your spouse is not present. Retaining an experienced lawyer can assist you in doing so. In this article I will discuss the topic of serving your spouse, and obtaining a divorce, through a process known as “publication.”

Many people worry that they will not be able to file for divorce if they do not know where their spouse is. Fortunately, Nevada’s rules of civil procedure have mechanisms in place which deal with such circumstances. You can file for your divorce and serve the defendant through a process known as “publication.” Once your Complaint is filed with the Clark County Family Court then your attorney will have a process server perform a “due diligence search” for the defendant. Assuming the defendant is not located the process server will provide your counsel with an affidavit detailing the steps they took to locate him or her. Your attorney will then file a Motion with the Court requesting permission to serve the defendant through publication. This request is often granted.

Once the request for service by publication is approved then your attorney will run an add in a legal periodical for a number of weeks. Once this process is completed then the defendant is considered to have been “served.” They will then have twenty days in which they may file an Answer. After the twenty days your lawyer will file a Default with the Court and schedule a prove up hearing. Once the prove up hearing (a relatively quick matter) has been held then the Court will sign the final decree of divorce. The matter will then be considered complete, just as if you had gone through the litigation process.

If you are unaware of your spouse’s whereabouts then it is suggested that you file for divorce as soon as possible. As long as you remain married then, under Nevada law, you may potentially be responsible for any debts your spouse is incurring and your spouse may be entitled to one half of any assets which you are accumulating. For obvious reasons, it is best to end this financial entanglement.

Contact my office today to begin the process of a divorce in which the defendant is served by publication. As a Las Vegas family law attorney I have handled many such matters and I am ready to assist you.