Dear Famularo & Associates:
My wife left me for another man approximately two years ago and I haven't had contact with her since, nor do I know where she is living. I have been paying her credit card bills all of this time because I don't want my credit to be damaged by her not paying them. Am I responsible to pay them if she doesn't? I am not a co-signer on the cards nor are they joint accounts.
Also, we own a house in joint tenancy. Can I still file for divorce without knowing her whereabouts?
J.L. in Temecula
Yes. You can file for a divorce even if you do not know the current whereabouts of your spouse. In order to finalize your divorce, you will have to serve the divorce by publishing the summons. You must tell the judge what efforts you have made to locate your spouse in order to get an order for publication. Once you serve your wife by publication, you can then take her default and then get a divorce judgment entered without her participation in the court proceedings.
If your wife has credit card debt in her name only, your credit will not be damaged if your wife does not pay her debt. Do not worry that something bad will happen to you if the debt is not kept current.
If you and your wife own a house together and you cannot find your spouse, it is highly likely the court will award you the house in the divorce as your sole and separate property.