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Domestic Relations Law 221
DRL 221: Dissolution of Marriage on Ground of Absence

DRL 221
Dissolution of Marriage on Ground of Absence


The petition shall allege that the husband or wife of such party has absented himself or herself for five successive years then last past without being known to such party to be living during that time; that such party believes such husband or wife to be dead; and that a diligent search has been made to discover evidence showing that such husband or wife is living, and no such evidence has been found. The court shall thereupon by order require notice of the presentation and object of such petition to be published in a newspaper in the English language designated in the order as most likely to give notice to such absent husband or wife once each week for three successive weeks; such notice shall be directed to the husband or wife who has so absented himself or herself and shall state the time and place of the hearing upon such petition, which time shall be not less than forty days after the completion of the publication of such notice; said notice must be subscribed with the name of the petitioner and with the name of the petitioner`s attorney and with his office address, specifying a place within the state where there is a post-office. If in a city, said notice must also set forth the street and street number, if any, of such attorney`s office address or other suitable designation of the particular locality in which said office address is located. In addition to the foregoing requirements said notice must be in substantially the following form, the blanks being properly filled: "Supreme court, ..........county. In the matter of the application of..........for dissolution of his or her marriage with........ To................: Take notice that a petition has been presented to this court by............... , your husband or wife, for the dissolution of your marriage on the ground that you have absented yourself for five successive years last past without being known to him or her to be living and that he or she believes you to be dead, and that pursuant to an order of said court, entered the of ......... , 19..... , a hearing will be had upon said petition at the said supreme court, ...........term part..........., in the ...............county court house, in the.......... state of New York, on the................. day of ............. , 19... , at ........ o`clock in the ......... noon. Dated............; " and if the court, after the filing of proof of the proper publication of said notice and after a hearing and proof taken, is satisfied of the truth of all the allegations contained in the petition, it may make a final order dissolving such marriage.

This section of the Domestic Relations Law is provided as part of a free educational service by J. Douglas Barics, attorney at law for reference only. Statutes and codes such as DRL 221 are frequently amended, and no representation is made that the above version of DRL 221 is current. Updated statutes and codes may be available at the New York State Legislature Website. No statute should be relied on without understanding controlling case law which may further interpret it. An attorney should be consulted for legal advice.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Mr. Barics at or (631) 864-2600. For more articles and information, please visit

J. Douglas Barics, Esq. – Divorce, family, matrimonial, trial and appeals lawyer in Long Island, New York.