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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in Alaska
When one spouse wants to call it quits but cannot find his or her missing partner, or when he or she is hiding, divorce by publication comes into play. Divorce by publication happens after a judge has been convinced, based on a sworn declaration, of the serving party's inability to find the Defendant 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, cannot be contacted to consent to the marital dissolution), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.
Alaska's Search Requirements and Process
Alaska courts require that the Petitioner "must be unable to determine the absent spouse's position on the following because he or she cannot be located: a) the dissolution of the marriage, b) the fair and just division of the marital estate, including retirement benefits, c) spousal maintenance, d) payment of debts, e) custody, support and visitation." The Petitioner must also demonstrate that he or she cannot serve process inside or outside the state.
The Petitioner must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, a notarized statement that "[i]compatibility of temperament has caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage"; that the missing spouse cannot be contacted for his or her "position in regard to the dissolution of [the] marriage"; that the missing spouse cannot be served a copy of the petition "either inside or outside Alaska." The Petitioner must also file an Information Sheet, DR 314, which identifies the parties in the case, and a Certificate of Divorce, Dissolution of Marriage or Annulment, VS-401, which records the action for the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Alaska 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 writing to the absent spouse at his or her last known address, making inquiries with friends, family and employers, contacting directory assistance and motor vehicle registrars.
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.
If you actively pursue locating your spouse through the methods outlined in the Affidavit of Diligent Search, and still can't locate your spouse, then a "Divorce by Publication" is your likely method of getting a divorce.
Filing for Divorce by Publication in Alaska
If the search is fruitless, the Petitioner files an Affidavit of Diligent Inquiry (DR-210), a notarized statement affirming that the Petitioner does not know and cannot learn the address of the missing spouse.When the court is satisfied with the effort, it Issues a Notice to Absent Spouse DR 220, which gives the Petitioner permission to publish to the action once a week for four consecutive weeks. The missing spouse has 30 days from the date of last publication to respond. If the Petitioner believes that publication is not the best way to give the missing spouse notice (for example, there is not a newspaper published in the community where the spouse is most likely living), the Petitioner may instead ask the court for permission "to post the notice in public places or some other method of notice [that] would be more likely to give notice."
This route requires that the Petitioner file a Motion and Order for Alternative Service, DR 215.
After the publication or posting of the Notice to Absent Spouse, the Petitioner must complete a Proof of Notice DR 225, a notarized form that proves that posting of publication happened.
Thirty days after the last date of publication, a hearing can be scheduled. This hearing is usually before a Master, who makes a recommendation to the judge who signs the dissolution.
From start to finish, Service by Publication takes about three months.
If one spouse petitions for dissolution when the other spouse cannot be located, the dissolution decree dissolves the marriage, but it will not grant other relief, such as child custody, child support and division of property.
Alaska Dissolution procedures are described in Alaska Statutes 25.24.200-.2670 and Divorce Procedures in Alaska Statutes 25,24.010-.180. Divorce by publication is described in Alaska Civil Rule 90.1.
Copyright Notice: These Alaska divorce laws above are copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This abbreviated and revised version of the state laws has been compiled from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction in any fashion is prohibited. Violation of this copyright notice may result in immediate legal action.