Articles Posted in Divorce

In hindsight it was an impulsive and irrational decision, but short of going back in time, the next best thing is to learn from your choices. That is how Shelly felt anyway. She married Dan a week after set met him at Whole Foods in Briarcliff Manor, New York. At the time she was certain that she had found her soul mate.  Now, over a decade later, Shelly was truly in love and wanting to remarry.  Except, she and Dan had never legally divorced.  This was a problem because she was living her dream life in Croton-on-Hudson, New York and engaged to the love of her life.  The bigger problem is that Shelly had no idea where to find Dan. How could she divorce him?

This situation happens more than one may imagine.  New York State matrimonial law (more formally know as New York State Domestic Relations Law) requires a spouse to be notified personally when their mate files for divorce.   What is the process when the estranged spouse cannot be located?  This process is known as Divorce by Publication.  A judge must approve the use of this process. Before this approval is granted, the spouse seeking a divorce, must prove they have completed a thorough search for their spouse. This is done by filing several documents with the court, including an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry, which outlines all the ways you have searched for your spouse. 

Divorce by Publication - How To Search For Your Spouse

By what methods can you search for your spouse?  There are a lot of different ways to do this. For examples include:

Generally, an uncontested divorce is the fastest and least expensive way to get divorced in New York State. Partly because the spouses have worked out all the details of the divorce and the defendant has signed paperwork agreeing to the divorce. However, the process is slightly different when a spouse cannot be located. When this happens, extra steps and court filings are required.

A publication divorce is started in the same manner as any other uncontested divorce, by filing a Summons with Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint with the court. Then a separate request is filed with the court requesting permission for alternate means of service: service by publication. What this means is that instead of personal service, service by mail or similar service, the plaintiff (the person filing the paperwork) is asking permission to notify or “serve” his or her spouse by means of a newspaper or journal ad.

Publication Divorce Overview
However, before the request for publication can be submitted to the court, the plaintiff must make a good faith effort to find his or her spouse. Documentation of such must be submitted to the court in the form of an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry, along with a Motion for Service by Publication and Order for Publication.

Staring at the two lines on the pregnancy test, Monica could feel her heart pounding in her chest.  Overcome with emotion, she screamed with joy.  Finally!  All her dreams come true.  First meeting Louie, now a baby.  Her and her ex-husband had tried for years with no luck conceiving a child.  But everything was different with Louie.

Monica could not wait to tell Louie the good news.  But, that was a conversation that would happen in a far different place than she imagined.  See Louie had a long history of run-ins with the law in Rye, NY, and had spent more of his adult life behind bars.  The drugs and gang always got the best of him when he got out.  

1 marriage, 2 children, 2 convictions and 10 years later.  Monica had relocated to Yonkers NY with her family a few years back.  Being a single mom was never what she imagined.  The tips she earned helped, but barely covered all the household expenses.  Louie wrote frequently, she sent pictures, but at this point the marriage was over.


Their love story began as only one could that was written by a romance novel author.  At least Jessica thought so.  Shawn was the tall handsome athletic man she had always dreamed of meeting.  And she – the exotic businesswoman from White Plains, NY.  He watched her from afar as she worked out with a personal trainer at the local Dobbs Ferry, NY gym.  After a whirlwind romance that included live bands and homemade meals  they decided to build a life together and start a family.

She signed for a quaint fixer-upper home at the end of a cul-de-sac with a park in Bronxville, New York.  But just as quickly as their romance blossomed, it seemed to die out. 

How could this happen?  Life is not supposed to crumble before your eyes. After a few conversations where Shawn admitted he could care less, the reality of the situation came down to one word.  DIVORCE.  But what was the next step?  She would need to find the best Westchester County divorce attorney. Or should she do the divorce herself?

Today, divorce is commonplace with nearly half of all U.S. marriages failing. And, divorce is expensive. In addition to being expensive, divorce can tear apart lives and families; even so, we all like to read a juicy divorce story. Who of us has not picked up a supermarket tabloid to get the details of the latest celebrity divorce? Or went online to read the particulars of the most recent well-known split? Of course, it is easy to stand there, shake our head, and think, “I hope they had a prenup.” A prenuptial agreement for celebrities is a no-brainer.

Take for example some jaw-dropping divorce payouts. Media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, takes firssurprised imaget prize for the most expensive divorce in U.S. history when his third wife walked away with $1.8 billion. You would think that he learned his lesson after his second divorce, when wife number two walked away with $1.7 billion. Then there is Steve Wynn who shelled out $741 million to wife, Elaine Pascal, and Mel Gibson who paid wife, Robyn Moore, $425 million. The list of prestigious divorces, and divorce settlements, goes on and includes names like Michael Jordan and Neil Diamond.

While it is easy to point at the big elephant in the room and criticize, have you considered your situation? Have you asked yourself, “If I were to marry then get divorced, what’s at stake for me?” If you are single or engaged and have asked this question or perhaps contemplating it for the first time after having read the question, then maybe a prenuptial agreement is in your best interest.

Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2018
Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2017
Contact Information