When one spouse wants to call it quits but cannot find his or her missing partner, divorce by publication becomes an option. Divorce by publication happens only after a judge has been convinced, based on a sworn declaration, of the serving party’s inability to find the Respondent 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.
When the Respondent cannot or will not be found (and, therefore, fails to respond to the Summons), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a “diligent search” followed by Service by Publication.
Georgia’s Search Requirements and Process
- Georgia courts require a good faith effort by the Petitioner to prove that he or she has made a genuine search for his or her missing partner. This search entails:
- Checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the area where the Petitioner lives;
- Checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the area where the Respondent is last known to have lived;
- Asking friends and relatives who might know the location of the missing spouse;
- Checking records of the tax collector and property assessor to see if the missing spouse owns property;
- Contacting the department of motor vehicles for registrations in the name of the missing spouse; and
- Checking any other possible sources that might lead to a current address.
In order to be eligible for a “Divorce by Publication”, you must complete and submit an Affidavit of Diligent Search to the court. This document clearly outlines all of the actions you have taken to locate your spouse, essentially proving to the court that your spouse absolutely can’t be found.
There are a lot of details with which to concern oneself before filing for a divorce by publication. Having the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney can help make the process go more smoothly and reduce the stress involved. If you have questions about divorce, call The Platt Law Firm to set-up a consultation with one of our experienced Georgia divorce attorneys who can meet with you and discuss how to proceed.