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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in California
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. The court permits service by publication only when the Petitioner cannot locate a missing spouse.
California's Search Requirements and Process
California 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 California, a diligent search means the Petitioner must try the following: