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Wyoming Divorce By Publication - Missing Spouse

When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in Wyoming

When one spouse wants to call it quits but cannot find his or her missing partner, or when he or she is hiding, divorce by publication comes into play. Divorce by publication happens "only after a judge has been convinced, based on a sworn declaration, of the serving party's inability to find the Defendant after trying hard. Service by publication is commonly used in a divorce action to serve a spouse who has disappeared without a leaving a forwarding address..."

When the Respondent cannot or will not be found (and, therefore, cannot be served by the Sheriff, private party or certified or registered mail, which are the preferred methods), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.

Wyoming's Search Requirements and Process

Wyoming courts require a good faith effort by the Petitioner to prove that he or she has made a genuine search for his or her missing partner. This search should checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the area where the Petitioner lives and the area where the missing spouse is last known to have lived, asking friends and relatives who might know the location of the missing spouse, and trying to contact the missing partner by mail.

In order to be eligible for a "Divorce by Publication", you must complete and submit an Affidavit of Diligent Search to the court. This document clearly outlines all of the actions you have taken to locate your spouse, essentially proving to the court that your spouse absolutely can't be found.

>>> Download the Affidavit of Diligent Search

If you actively pursue locating your spouse through the methods outlined in the Affidavit of Diligent Search, and still can't locate your spouse, then a "Divorce by Publication" is your likely method of getting a divorce.

Filing for Divorce by Publication in Wyoming

If the search is fruitless, the Petitioner files Affidavit to Allow Service by Publication, DNCP 10 or DWCP 10, (depending on whether there are no children (NC) or children (WC)). This affidavit is a notarized statement affirming that missing spouse's address "is not known and cannot with reasonable diligence by ascertained"; that the Petitioner has tried to locate the missing spouse by telephone and directory assistance; that she or she has written to the missing spouse but the letter was returned; and that he or she has unsuccessfully contacted known relatives and "they cannot supply a current address."

The Petitioner also files a Notice of Publication, DNCP 9 or DWCP 9, which, when approved by the court, serves a Summons, putting the Defendant on notice that he or she must file an Answer in 30 days or face a default judgment.

  • The notice must be published once a week for four consecutive weeks.
  • If the missing spouse's address is known it must be stated in the notice.
  • Publication must be in newspaper that has been published for at least one year, has a paid circulation of at least 500, and
  • each page must be 10 inches by 12 and 1/2 inches.
  • After the notice has been published, the Plaintiff must file an Affidavit Following Service by Publication, DNCP 11 or DWCP 11, which certifies to the court that the notice was published. The affidavit must be filed with the court 30 days after the last publication of notice.
  • If the missing spouse fails to respond, the court considers the action uncontested. The Plaintiff can schedule a hearing to finalize the action.
From start to finish, Service by Publication takes about two to three months.

Wyoming Service by Publication is described in Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4(e) & (f).

Copyright Notice: These Wyoming divorce laws above are copyrighted by 3 Step Solutions, LLC. This abbreviated and revised version of the state laws has been compiled from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction in any fashion is prohibited. Violation of this copyright notice may result in immediate legal action.

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