Divorce By Publication

If you are wanting a divorce but are unable to locate your spouse you might consider a divorce by publication.

Divorce by Publication

Family law courts have made it possible for you to obtain a divorce even when you are unable to locator your spouse because they are either missing or hiding. This process is called “divorce by publication.” In this process the court issues an Order of Publication which permits the publication of the summons. This summons is published in a local paper once a week for four successive weeks. There are at least five days between successive publications.

Proof of Missing or Hiding Spouse

Divorce by publication can only occur “only after a judge has been convinced, based on a sworn declaration, of the serving party’s inability to find the Defendant after trying hard. Service by publication is commonly used in a divorce action to serve a spouse who has disappeared without a leaving a forwarding address… ”

Diligent Search for Missing Spouse

A diligent search must be conducted by the Petitioner. This “diligent search” means the following steps have been taken:

  • search of the phone book and directory assistance in the area where the spouse reportedly lives or is last known to have lived;
  • friends and relatives have been asked about the location of the missing spouse;
  • you’ve asked the post office for a forwarding address for the spouse;
  • you’ve checked the records of the tax collector and property assessor to see if the missing spouse owns property;
  • you’ve contacted the California Department of Motor Vehicles for auto registrations;
  • you’ve contacted landlords and prior employers;
  • you’ve checked with the registrar of voters;
  • you’ve used private investigators.

You will need to provide the court with an Affidavit of Diligent Search, stating you have gone through the necessary steps to locate the missing spouse. Then you will need to file an Ex Parte (Without Notice) Application for Publication of Summons; Declaration of Petitioner in Support Thereof; Memorandum of Points and Authorities, and Order of Publication. Once the court approves, it will issue an Order of Publication.

Source: 3 Step Divorce, California Divorce By Publication – Missing Spouse, 2014

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