You’ve filled out the paperwork and are ready to serve your spouse their divorce papers. In most cases, the papers can be delivered personally or sent through the mail. Easy, right? However, to your absolute shock, your spouse suddenly disappears. Now, you’re left wondering how in the world you’re going to serve those divorce papers without your partner’s latest contact information. Fortunately, there are several resources in place that assist individuals in serving their spouses. Check out the list below to find out which of these options fit your needs.
Service of Process: If you can’t serve divorce papers to your spouse via delivery in person or through the mail, it is possible to ask another individual to serve the paperwork for you. The individual must be an adult and can be a friend, paid process server, or a county sheriff. Your spouse can attempt to refuse the papers by not answering their door, but the process server can hand the paperwork over when they leave for work or even go to your spouse’s place of employment to deliver the paperwork.
Substitute Service: If the process server attempts three times to deliver the divorce paperwork at your spouse’s home or place of employment and your spouse is not there, the process server can leave the documents with an adult that lives in the spouse’s house or an adult in charge of his place of employment. In this case of substitute service, the process server must inform the alternative party that they are delivering important legal documents for the spouse. Afterwards, the process server will be responsible for filling out a Declaration of Due Diligence form listing the attempts made to serve your spouse. They must also fill out a Proof of Service form and provide a physical description of the person whom they gave the paperwork to.
Service of Publication: As a last resort and after you have exhausted the resources above, you can choose to move on and attempt to serve your spouse’s paperwork through service of publication. For this service, individuals must publish their summons and complaint in a newspaper that is distributed in the region your spouse may reside in. However, before you can use this service you must present your evidence to the court that you attempted to serve your spouse before reaching this last resort. If the court is convinced you did everything possible to contact your spouse, they will allow you to proceed with this service.
Divorce can be stressful and having a missing spouse may seem like you’ll never be able to proceed with your new life. However, there are resources out there to help you divorce your spouse, including attorneys with years of experience in divorce proceedings. If you’re not sure which resource to use to serve your missing spouse, reach out to us at Hoover ♦ Krepelka, LLC for a free consultation. We’ll do our best to get your case moving forward.