What to do if spouse is missing for years?


I’ve been going through complete hell for 8 years now. I got married at a very young age. The marriage was pretty much doomed from the start. I was too young and naive to realize that at the time. To sum it up, I was trying very hard to make it work but my wife never wanted to contribute. As the years passed by, she became worse and worse. She refused to work or do anything at all around the house. She would spend all her time watching TV and sleeping while I went out and worked. Luckily I held through the marriage long enough to get my APRC. We got into a big fight which ended in me kicking her out. That’s the second biggest mistake I made (I’ll explain shortly).
A few days later when coming back home from work, I found that my key didn’t fit anymore. No one was home either. All my stuff is inside there so I had to hire a locksmith to change the lock back (expensive). Not something I wanted to make a habit of doing every time I came back home so I had my friend help me to move to a new apartment. When trying to gather my stuff I noticed my passport was missing. I’m not sure why but she stole my passport. 100% certain about this. I always kept it in the same place. Being American, I applied for a new replacement at the AIT immediately after.
Since then, she’s changed her number and I’ve lost all contact with her. I still have her families contact (email) but most messages I send go ignored for weeks to even months and they refuse to let me have any contact with my wife or tell me her location. This has been going on for 4 years now. I’ve been at a loss of what to do. Recently for the past 2 years or so my emails have been mostly stating: if they won’t let me see my wife, then we need a divorce.
Her family never liked her marrying me from the start. I was young and didn’t think that would be a problem (stupid, I know). Now I really want to move on with my life. The feeling is like as if being a prisoner. I’m stuck in a marriage with someone who I’ve lost all feelings for (that will happen after 4 years of abandonment -especially when the marriage was falling out anyways) and can’t even meet.
Any suggestions on what I can do? I really want my life back. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much in advance.


At least you did not have kids. That would have made it worse.

I don’t think she wants to be found. Even if you found out where she is, I doubt she wants to talk to you. So just lawyer up and see how you can get a divorce without consent of partner.


Thank you for the reply. Honestly until now, I’ve been trying my best to sort this out peacefully (find my wife and then sign papers). It hasn’t gone too well. I contacted a lawyer and he quoted me 8,000 just for a consultation. Seems a little steep since I don’t even know he can really help me or not. I’ve been googling endlessly for recommended lawyers. Does any one know any good lawyers for foreigners especially?


Civil Code, Part IV, Chapter II, Section 5:

You can have a free (brief) consultation at the Legal Aid Foundation: http://www.laf.org.tw. Ask for an English speaker if you’re not fluent in Mandarin (but don’t expect fluent English anyway).

This service is also available at Taipei City Hall (ground floor). They don’t claim to have service in English there, but it’s also free.


Damn, that’s harsh.


You doing fine Mike. You getting your life back. All of this makes you stronger person.

Try to contact family few times more and tell em is for papers to divorce. Do not offer them money for divorce, cause they will start milking you as cow. Once Taiwanese start smelling money they go nuts.

Good luck

I was in similar situation, just she disappeared with our son. It was rough and bumpy, but we managed to get my son + divorce papers. Am positive everything will be okey with your case too. She seems to be in chronicle depression, and with those people is just hard. Takes times.

Did you registered marriage in your home country? Mine got me divorce papers before Taiwan did.


Thank you everyone so much for your support. I really have suffered so long without coming to people. I really regret not coming here sooner.


I’ve heard it has to be over 3 years. Although it has been 4 years I can only prove 2 at best because I haven’t kept my emails past 2 years. The current lawyer I have been contacting has been asking for me to bring proof of 4 years of trying to contact her.


:eek: :doh::no_no:

Think outside the inbox, then: witness statements, financial records, anything and everything. Look into the possibility of using legal deposit letters that make reference to the date of separation, or even audio recordings in which you state your version of events and ask people to confirm or deny.

(If you’re not familiar with legal deposit letters, look them up here or ask at the post office. Surreptitious audio recordings can get you in trouble if you’re reckless, but if you’re just trying to protect your rights and take reasonable measure to avoid violating anyone’s privacy, you should be okay.)

Good luck. :four_leaf_clover:


You should be able to recover your emails.


How about records when you moved out of the apartment where you last lived together. A good indication of separation with date.


This would establish the time frame for her leaving. Did you file a police report or did you report that the passport was lost?


I vaguely remember years ago that if one was married and the wife took off, you could call the cops and they would bring her back home.
Not sure if they do that these days lol, in doubt that would go over big in the media.


I didn’t file a police report but in order to get a new passport, I had to file my passport as stolen or missing at the AIT. The back page of my passport states that it is a replacement for a missing passport.


Wouldn’t two years of me asking the location of my wife be enough? I would think it would still count as abandonment since I don’t know where she is and have no way to contact her. I don’t even know if she is alive or not. I’d assume she is but I have had no contact with her at all.
Our relationship was a mess and only got worse as the years went on. I don’t think I can get any financial statements that can be of use. She never worked and we never owned anything such as a car, house…etc.


From my viewpoint; if one is unable to contact or see their spouse and doesn’t live with them anymore, they should be allowed to get a divorce. There was a case recently where a woman was granted a divorce because her husband read and didn’t reply to her line message.

I really can’t see any logical reason why anyone would want to stay married to someone if they never see them. It kind of defeats the point of the marriage. I just can’t see the reasoning in why her familiy wouldn’t at least let us meet to get a divorce and why they would hide her from me if they want us to stay married. I’ve also considered the possibilty that her family doesn’ t know where she is either.
It just seems odd that it’s been always me making the effort over the past 4 years and they just don’t seem to care about it at all. Neither does my wife. Shes made no effort to contact me even for a divorce. I don’t see why anyone would be okay with this situation and not take it more seriously. It’s her life too.


It is not what you or we think, but how taiwanese laws say. If your lawyer said you need a proof of 4 years, it may be required.

Or, you might be able to report her as a missing person to police, then they might help to find her.


To inherit your assets when you die. Also, there’s a stigma attached to being divorced (although growing weaker every year).


JDGAF saves


If that’s the case, let’s hope I can put an end to this injustice.

Quoting Civil Code, Part IV, Chapter II, Section 5 posted by Legal Alien above; “Where the other party has deserted him or her in bad faith and such desertion still continues” seems to fit my case (hopefully). My consultation is next week. Going to cost me quite a bit. I’m not sure that 4 years is exactly required. Hopefully he can help me. Based off the news article I just posted where the lady got a divorce granted in Hsinchu for her husband just ignoring her line messages. Line doesn’t allow you to keep history for 4 years and I don’t even think it’s been out that long. Actually the article states that it was only over a period of 6 months.

I really wish I can have my life back and really hope I don’t have to go another two years suffering because of this.