It becomes important to know where an estranged spouse is when parties have not maintained any form of contact and one party wishes to divorce some time – often years – after separation.
Whilst a divorce can be obtained on the basis of two years separation if the other party consents, or five years separation even if they do not consent, the Courts will need to be assured that the estranged party is aware of the divorce and has been served with the papers – even if he or she chooses not engage in the process.
As such if a couple completely loses touch it can prove difficult to obtain a divorce.
Enquiry agents can be instructed to trace an individual and can usually be successful in locating the estranged spouse. However some individuals do not register for utilities, council tax etc and therefore do not leave a trace of their whereabouts.
It is therefore a good idea for separating couples to have contact details for each other so these problems can be avoided should circumstances change in the future.