Divorce and the Missing Spouse

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Before your divorce case can officially begin, your spouse has to be legally served with a notice of the proceeding. This means he or she has to be given the documents about the divorce, so he or she can know about the case and have time to respond. The purpose behind this is so everyone has a fair chance to understand what’s happening and participate in the case. If your spouse is legally served and chooses not to respond, your case moves forward as an uncontested divorce.

Even if you do not know where your spouse is or how to find him/her, Arizona law requires that some type of service of the notice must occur. If you cannot locate your spouse at all, the court may allow you to serve your spouse by publication of a notice in a newspaper. Before this can happen, you must make a diligent effort to find him or her. This can mean contacting friends or family, checking old addresses, looking for forwarding addresses, and/or doing online searches. Once this type of diligence has been performed, an affidavit is filed with the court explaining the steps that have been taken and requesting permission to serve by publication.

When all other avenues have failed, service by publication is considered acceptable since there is no other way to reach the other person. The thought is he or she may see it in the paper, or someone who knows the person being served may see it and alert him or her. However there are limitations on what the court can order if the notice is by publication. Your attorney can explain the requirements of service in your divorce and how best to meet them in your case.

Because divorce is complex, you need a law firm you can rely on to handle the details and explain them to you. The Sampair Group is your choice in the Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix areas of Arizona. Call us now to make an appointment to start discussing your case.