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What To Do When A Spouse is Missing?

Before acting on procedures when a spouse is missing, one must first understand what the term “missing spouse” means. In divorce law, a missing spouse is when a spouse cannot be located under usual circumstances. In other words, be found at the last known address, or going through channels like checking at the last known place of work, checking with friends, family and neighbours, and no telephonic or online communications could be established. When these contact methods fail to produce the whereabouts of your spouse, then he/she is considered a missing spouse in terms of divorce law.

The first thing to consider in an instance like this is to make contact with a divorce attorney South Africa. A divorce attorney South Africa will provide information and guidance as to what there is to do and how to do it. Divorce law can be stringent where normal procedure must compromise, and getting the correct information from your divorce lawyer South Africa can be of great assistance in terms of avoiding error and satisfying the court that procedure was carried out thoroughly and correctly. Having an experienced divorce lawyer South Africa in your corner while proceeding with potentially complicated divorce matters is always a beneficial safeguard.

Once you have consulted a divorce attorney South Africa, you will be given a procedural concept of what you must do in order to satisfy the court that you have exhausted every reasonable action to locate your spouse. This means checking at the last place your spouse was known to be living; checking with friends, family, and neighbours; checking at his last known place of work and interviewing his colleagues and employers; attempt communication via social media, search engines like Google, telephonic communication and perhaps even sending a letter to a post address should there be one available. If all these channels fail to produce anything, then an investigator should be considered. All these channels should be attempted and then stated in an affidavit along with the results of each attempt. The reason for this is because a divorce action starts with serving a summons on the defendant, the person from whom you wish to divorce, in person by a sheriff of the court. if a summons cannot be served in person by a sheriff of the court, the court must be satisfied that every possible attempt was made to make contact or locate the defendant. When the court is satisfied, a method known as substituted service may be considered. This means that a divorce summons may be served in an alternative method, which the court believes will find the defendant. this could be a publication in a newspaper, a post on Facebook, or having a family member serve the summons. A divorce attorney South Africa will assist and guide where necessary. It should be noted that where complicated divorce situations arise, a divorce attorney South Africa should be utilised.

Divorce attorneys South Africa will explain that substituted service is a method in which alternative methods are used to serve a summons on a defendant where he/she is either unknowingly unreachable, or purposely being evasive, and where every means possible was exhausted to locate them. Then the court may consider substituted method which they believe will reach the defendant. As stated, a procedural method will be presented to the plaintiff, and all his/her efforts and findings will need to be stated in an affidavit and presented to the court. Once the summons has found the defendant and his/her whereabouts have been established, normal divorce can proceed, with the assistance of a divorce attorney South Africa.

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