How do I find out if divorce papers have been filed?
When someone files for divorce, they are required to serve their spouse. How this service occurs, and when, is somewhat open. There are multiple methods by which you can be served, and there is a period of time during which they can serve you, usually anywhere from 30 to 120 days after the divorce was filed. While most people would want to serve their spouse as quickly as possible, so the divorce can move forward as quickly as possible, some are in no rush.
There are a few ways you can find out if your spouse has filed for divorce, other than being served with papers.
Ask your spouse
If you know how to contact your spouse, and you have a safe (no abuse) and somewhat civil relationship with them, you can simply ask if they’ve filed for divorce. Unless they are trying to commit fraud and hide the divorce from you, they should tell you honestly.
Ask your spouse’s friends or family
If you don’t know where your spouse is, or your relationship with them doesn’t allow for easy communication between you, but you do have a good relationship with someone they are friends with or related to, you can ask them. Friends or family may not always be honest with you, so this may not really do anything to answer your question, but it’s worth a shot. If you believe that they’re not being honest with you, you should definitely try another way to get a confirmed answer.
Ask your spouse’s attorney
You and your spouse may have already decided to divorce, and perhaps you even had some of the details worked out. So you know who they hired as their attorney. While their attorney does have to consider confidentiality, they may tell you if your spouse has filed for divorce.
Check with the county courthouse
This is probably the easiest, and most productive, way to find out if divorce papers have been filed. It cuts out any possibility of anyone lying or refusing to answer the question, and it requires only a little information. Usually, to find out if divorce papers have been filed, you only need your name, your spouse’s name, and possibly your dates of birth. If you live in the same county, you’ll just need to check with your county courthouse, but if your spouse lives in a different county, you’ll want to check the county courthouse where they live.
Many courthouses and clerks of court now have websites with an online case and/or record search. This allows you to search from your home or library and see if there are any cases filed with your name or your spouse’s name. In some cases, some of the paperwork may even be available to view online.
Go in person
You can also go in person to the county courthouse and speak to a clerk to find out. They’ll check their records, and you can get copies of the paperwork, if it has been filed.
Calling is another option. However, they may be busy and not search as thoroughly or carefully, so you may not get the correct information. An online search or going in person is a better idea.