Divorce by Publication
Filing for divorce can be difficult, and further complicated, if your spouse cannot be located. Under New York State law, you must personally serve your spouse with the summons for divorce. However, under some circumstances, the other spouse is missing or evading service. In these situations, the law provides for an alternative method of service. In some circumstances the court may permit you to effectuate service by “substitution,” which allows you to serve another adult over the age of 18 other than your spouse. Alternatively, the court may permit you to serve your spouse by publication.
There are steps that the court requires you to follow before you are permitted to serve your spouse by publication. It is imperative that you have experienced legal counsel to ensure your request to publish the summons will be granted.
What is Service of Process?
Service of process is the act by which one person serves another person or entity with legal documents, which gives them legal notice of the documents which have been or will be filed with the court. Service of process is typically effectuated by several common methods, including service by mail, fax, electronic/email, and personal service (wherein a process server or a person over the age of 18, and not a party to the action, personally hands the documents to the individual or agent for service of process for an entity).
What is divorce by publication?
If you can show that you have made diligent efforts to personally serve your spouse, to no avail, the court may permit you to file a motion asking the judge to permit you to serve your spouse by publishing notice of the action in a newspaper or other widely circulated publication.