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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in Arizona
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 "only 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 served by a Deputy Sheriff or a private process service or by certified mail), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.
Arizona's Search Requirements and Process
Arizona 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. "Service by publication is only available when the Respondent's whereabouts is unknown in spite of diligent effort by the petitioner to find the respondent's address."
In Arizona, a diligent search means, in the least, contacting known relatives and friends of the missing partner and could include checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the area where the Petitioner lives and checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the area where the Respondent is last known to have lived. It could also include checking the post office for any forwarding address of the missing spouse and also the department of motor vehicles for registrations in the name of the missing spouse.
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 Arizona If the search is fruitless, the Petitioner files a Declaration of Service by Publication (Form 700a), which affirms that the Petitioner caused service by publication under Arizona Rule 4 1(e) and a Declaration of Due Diligence (Form 700b), describes the Petitioner's efforts to locate the missing partner. The Declaration of Due Diligence is a sworn statement affirming that the Petitioner has checked with the Respondent's friends and relatives, his or her for landlord and searched telephone directories and information.
Service by Publication is made by publishing the Summons (Form 400 a-b) in a local newspaper (usually a legal newspaper) once week for three consecutive weeks. The publication is often in the county where the action is filed.
The missing spouse then has 30 days "for the completion of service that starts the first date of publication, plus 60 days that starts at the expiration of the 30-day period."
If the missing spouse fails to respond within one week of the last publication of the notice, the court considers the action uncontested. The Plaintiff can schedule a hearing to finalize the action.
The cost of publication varies depending on the newspaper.
From start to finish, Service by Publication takes more than 90 days.
The court can grant the divorce in a publication action, but it cannot make any decisions regarding child custody, child support or division of property.
Arizona Service by Publication is the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4.
Copyright Notice: These Arizona 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.