How To Serve Divorce Papers If You Don’t Know Where Your Spouse Is

Divorce Lawyer

Have you filed your petition for divorce with the court? Did you try to locate your spouse and hand-deliver the paperwork? If you cannot find your spouse, or if they are intentionally ignoring your efforts to serve the divorce paperwork, then you may be feeling at a loss. Fortunately, you have options, and an attorney can help walk you through your choices. There are at least four alternative delivery methods available when your spouse is avoiding divorce papers.

  1. Mail the Papers

You can use certified mail carriers to send the paperwork to the last known address of your spouse. Certified mail requires a signature, which will prove that your partner received the paperwork. However, sometimes the intended party may not be the recipient, or they may have moved, which makes mailing the documents problematic.

  1. Hire a Servicer

You can find several companies willing to deliver your papers in person. In fact, the court will probably have a list of recommended services for you to use. The service company will research your spouse and wait in places they are likely to be. For example, they may wait outside of their office to hand-deliver the papers when they exit for the day.

  1. Notify a Paper

Some courts will allow you to publish an advertisement in a local paper announcing the divorce. However, most courts prefer that the other party is notified in person, but if you can show that you have made every effort to deliver the paperwork, the court may make an exception.

  1. Apply for Substituted Service

If the court is not willing to let you notify through a publication, they may agree to substituted service. Essentially, through this method, you are allowed to inform someone else of the divorce, like your spouse’s parents or siblings. Again, you must prove that you have made every attempt to notify your marital partner of your desire to divorce. You will also need to submit an application that the court will review. Approval times can vary on the complexity and reasoning for the divorce.

A divorce is not optional when one spouse wants it. The court system will not force a couple to stay together simply because one party wants to. You must notify your spouse of your desire to divorce, but if they avoid you, you still have options. Contact a divorce lawyer, such as from May Law, LLP, to discuss your options when you cannot find your spouse.