Request a Callback

| Family Law

Divorce: what to do if you don’t know where your ex-partner is

Relationships worldwide have been detrimentally impacted by the significant strains placed upon them by the global pandemic we are all faced with. This pressure experienced has pushed relationships to their limits and sadly resulted in an increase in separations and divorces.

As couples and families are forced to spend more time together under one roof, the usual stress and strains are multiplied and amplified resulting in an increase in arguments. The ability to diffuse the volatile situations vastly diminishes due to the inability to leave the confines of the home. These difficult circumstances are resulting in increasing numbers of separations, divorces and a prevalence of physical and mental abuse. Cooped up together in homes across the world, many of us have felt tensions building within our own relationships. Tackling challenges such as schooling, childcare, household duties, work, worrying about health, finances and the global Covid-19 crisis has left many of us having to deal with a crisis of our own.

Numbers of couples across the world seeking relationship counselling have surged during lockdown.

A survey by the UK charity Relate in April 2020 found that nearly a quarter of people felt lockdown had placed additional pressure on their relationship. A similar proportion had found their partner more irritating – with women reporting so more than men. A further survey by the charity in July found 8% of people said lockdown had made them realise they needed to end their relationship – but 43% said lockdown had brought them closer. The couples who have been worst affected are those where there were problems before this pandemic had started.

Divorce lawyers in the UK and US have reported that enquiries are up significantly. One Washington DC law firm recorded a 70% increase in calls in October compared to October 2019.

In most cases when a relationship breaks down irrevocably and divorce proceedings are entered into, the male leaves the family home. This is when problems can occur and the spouse initiating the divorce is unable locate and contact the ex-partner to sign the divorce petition.

It is possible that the ex-partner left the home without providing a forwarding address or contact details. However, in some cases the ex-partner refuses to acknowledge their spouse wants a divorce, and as a result declines to sign and return the divorce petition. The petitioning spouse can have the papers served to their ex-partner’s home or work by a bailiff and this can then be accepted by the court as a form of acknowledgement even without the ex-spouse’s signature and return of the original petition. This ‘acknowledgement’ allows the court-led divorce process to continue.

As this is the first step in the divorce process, emotions and anger are often still running very high and as such it tends to cause the longest hold up, even more so than negotiating finances and child arrangements.

CCS Nationwide has over 30 years’ experience along with a network of agents throughout the UK and globally. They are able to trace and serve these documents to the ex-partner promptly and efficiently. For further details please contact us at

If you would like to speak to a member of our Hopkins Family Law Team about your personal family issue, please use the enquiry form below or contact our head office on 01623468468.

Request a Callback

Related Articles

  1. Care proceedings Court of Appeal win

    Care proceedings Court of Appeal win

    Hopkins Solicitors (instructed for the children) have acted in the recent Court of Appeal case of Re P and E…

  2. New government pilot with Resolution for family disputes

    New government pilot with Resolution for family disputes

    On Tuesday March 26, 2024 the UK Parliment considered a formal question on family resolution and particularly, Resolution’s “Vision For…

  3. Are you a law firm that is thinking about no longer handling personal injury claims?

    Are you a law firm that is thinking about no longer handling personal injury claims?

    Maybe you’ve had key staff in your personal injury department recently retire (or thinking of retiring) and you aren’t looking…

Accept Cookies

We use cookies to personalise content, provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. By using this website, you agree to the use of cookies as stipulated in our privacy policy.

Accept Cookies