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Can I get a divorce if I don’t know where my spouse is?

Yes.  If you want a divorce but cannot locate your spouse, under Canadian law there is an adjusted procedure to account for this element.


First of all, you can still commence the divorce proceedings in the usual way, but you will need to obtain a court order upfront giving you permission to continue without having to try to locate and serve divorce documents on your spouse. Getting that order requires you to bring a motion (which can be done without notice to your spouse) and prepare a detailed affidavit, setting out the full details: i.e. Why you cannot locate your spouse, why further attempts to determine his or her whereabouts would be futile, and why trying to serve documents with the information you do have would likely be ineffective.


If warranted, the court will adjust the document service requirements.  For example it might see fit to grant you permission to simply send the documents to your spouse’s last known address, or even send them via social media. Or, the court may permit you to dispense with the service of documents altogether.   In that case, you can proceed with the next steps toward getting a divorce unilaterally.

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