How to Deliver a Complaint when You Cannot Find Your Spouse During Divorce

Your spouse has run off and you have no idea where he or she might be to post the legal notice of divorce. So how do you have the sheriff deliver a copy of your Complaint to your spouse? In this situation you cannot use the sheriff. Instead of personal service, you will use a method of giving notice called service by publication. This is one of the more complicated procedures in the legal system. The requirements, forms, and procedures for service by publication vary for each state. You will need to research your state’s requirements at your local law library.The court will only permit publication when you cannot locate your spouse. This also includes the situation in which the sheriff has tried several times to personally serve your spouse, but it appears that your spouse is hiding to avoid being served. First, you will have to show that you cannot locate your spouse by letting the court know what you have done to try to find him or her. In making this search, you should try the following.

Steps

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    Check the phone book and directory assistance in the area where you live.
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    Check directory assistance in the area where you last knew your spouse to be staying.
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    Ask friends and relatives who might know where your spouse might be staying.
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    Check with the post office where he or she last lived to see if there is a forwarding address. (You can ask by mail if it is too far away.)
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    Check records of the property tax collector or property assessor to see if your spouse owns property.
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    Write to your state’s motor vehicle licensing and drivers’ licensing offices to see if your spouse has a car registration or driver’s license.
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    Check with any other sources you know that may lead you to a current address (such as landlords, prior employers, and so on).

Tips

  • If you do come up with a current address, go back to personal service by the sheriff, but if not, continue with this procedure. Even if you find your spouse in another state, still have him or her personally served. To do this, call the sheriff in the county and state where your spouse lives, and arrange for personal service by the sheriff.

Article Info

Categories: Divorce