Finding Your Former Spouse
It is a strict requirement of Canon (Church) Law that the Tribunal Office notify (through certified and regular mail) the Respondent (your former spouse) that this process is occurring. Failure to contact your former spouse can result in the entire process being declared invalid. Normally a person can be found using the Internet. If all means to locate your former spouse have been exhausted, the Tribunal can attempt to contact your former spouse through a family member, such as a parent or sibling. It is NOT recommended that you use a private detective or a paid locating service without first consulting the Tribunal.
To assist you in finding your former spouse, consider each question. Refer to the tools/websites in this document.
- Is there anything about the behavior or lifestyle of your former spouse that would make you think that your former spouse might be deceased? Describe all efforts of your search.
- If there are any mutual friends, former in-laws or other relatives of your former spouse with whom you are still in contact, find out if they know where your former spouse is. List whom you contacted, giving this person's name, address, telephone and the relationship to your former spouse and their responses.
- List the places that your former spouse has lived in chronological order, starting with the place of birth to the last known address. Be as detailed as you can, listing street addresses, city, state, etc.
- Provide the full names of both parents of your former spouse, including the mother's maiden and current name. List the places that the parents of your former spouse have lived in chronological order, starting with their place of birth to their last known address. Be as detailed as you can, listing street addresses, city, state, etc. Describe all efforts made to contact them.
- List the full names of all siblings of your former spouse and their spouses, along with their last known addresses. Give the approximate ages or approximate date of birth of the siblings. Describe all efforts made to contact any of them.
- If there were children born of the marriage and those children are grown, give their current names, along with the full names of their spouses, including their last known addresses and telephone numbers. Describe all efforts made to contact any of them.
- List the names of schools attended by your former spouse, especially high school and college. Try contacting the schools for your former spouse's address and explain your results.
- If your former spouse was in military service, what branch of the military, what years of service and where?
- List your former spouse's last known place of employment. Try contacting the place of employment for any possible leads to the location of your former spouse and explain your results.
- If your former spouse was married previously, try contacting this former spouse or any children born of this previous marriage to see if they know where your former spouse is. List the names of all people whom you contacted and the results.
- If your former spouse remarried after your divorce from him/her, try contacting any subsequent spouse or any children born from the subsequent marriage to see if they know where your former spouse is. List the names of all people whom you contacted and the results.
- What other steps have you taken to find your former spouse?
If you have reason to believe that your former spouse is deceased, consider searching for this documentation. Death certificates within the past 25 years are considered protected records. Therefore, you are probably not qualified to order a certificate or record. However, you might be qualified to order a verification. There is no need to order a death certificate or death verification if you find that your former spouse is deceased at one of the following websites. Simply print out the page and present it to the priest. The two following databases contain most death records, though not all, in connection with Social Security death benefits. Search the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) at http://ssdi.genealogy.rootsweb.com (use the advanced search). Some individual State death indexes can be found at the main page at www.rootsweb.com.
You can also search the data bank at: http://ancestry.com/search/rectype/vital/ssdi/main.htm or from the main page at www.ancestry.com.
Texas death verifications can be requested at http://dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/verification.shtm
You can also write the Department of Vital Records in the State where your former spouse was last known to reside to see if there is a possible death certificate. www.vitalrec.com can be used as a tool to find the location and telephone of a State's Vital Statistics Office. It is much cheaper if you contact the State's Vital Statistics Office yourself rather than using the paid service that this website provides.
Try the telephone book for all the known places your former spouse has lived. If it is in another city or state, try contacting someone in that particular city/state who would be willing to look up or copy for you the listings of the last name. In this way, one can contact the listings in search of the former spouse or a family member.
Try directory assistance. When checking through directory assistance, always ask the operator upfront for an address and then the telephone number of the person you are trying to find. If checking in a particular city shows no results, ask the operator to check the surrounding area or the entire area code. List the directory assistance cities contacted and the results. State the results of any attempts by you or others to make contact by telephone.
The Internet has numerous white pages websites. They are not all alike. For a good search, try several different sites with different combinations of a person's name. If a man is remarried, his present wife might have the telephone listed in her name. At www.theultimates.com/white you can access six popular Internet white pages.
If you only have a telephone number for a person, there are two different, reverse searches at http://www.theultimates.com/white.