In order to complete the California divorce process, the other party must be provided legal notice of the divorce proceedings. This can be done by 1) voluntary acceptance of the documents, 2) personal service of the documents, or 3) legal publication.
Using Investigator in California Divorce To Locate Spouse
If you have filed a California divorce, cannot find your spouse and you want to go ahead with the process, you may be able to serve them through legal publication. In order for the court to allow one party to serve the other party through legal publication, attempts must be made to find the missing spouse. This is typically done by hiring an investigator (usually approximately $100-$150) to try to find a current address for the missing spouse. The investigator will give a formal report of their investigative results and in many cases, will find a valid address for personal service.
Serving by Publication in Divorce When You Cannot Find Spouse
In some instances the investigator may not be able to find a viable address for service and a spouse cannot be found. At that point, application can be made to the court showing what attempt has been made to find the other party and ask that the court allow the party to be served through publication. This means that the Summons will be published once and week for 4 weeks in a newspaper approved by the court to offer notice to the missing spouse. Service by publication is complete at the end of the 28th day after the first date the document is published in the newspaper. If at any point during the 28 days of publication you find your spouse or partner’s address, you must have someone 18 or older mail a copy of the documents to him or her and file a Proof of Service by Mail (Form FL-335) and return to you to file with the court.