A Publication Divorce is needed when a person wishes to divorce his/her spouse but does not know where the spouse lives or works. Once the divorce is filed, the spouse must be served. The California courts have created a way to handle service on a spouse whose whereabouts is unknown. This involves the following:
- A search for the person at the last known address can be obtained by way of a search company. If the search locates an address or telephone number of a person(s) with the same name as your spouse, then an attempt is made to contact them. The spouse may be found by this search and if so the spouse would be served. In most cases the spouse is not found.
- If the search is unsuccessful then the judge will sign an order for publication in a legal newspaper for a period of time.
- If the spouse is still not found, the courts determine that these efforts will constitute ‘service’ and the judge will sign the order to proceed with the divorce.
This type of divorce takes approximately 9 months to complete, whereas a divorce in which the whereabouts of the spouse is known can take a minimum of 6 months and 1 day from the date of service.
Problems with a Publication Divorce can occur when the spouse never lived in the United States. It is difficult to do the appropriate search and publication and still get it approved by a California court. A Family Law Attorney can advise you as to your best legal options.