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Idaho Divorce By Publication - Missing Spouse

When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in Idaho

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 process by the Sheriff, a process server or other responsible adult), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.

Idaho's Search Requirements and Process

Idaho 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 effort should be documented and copies of all letters should be kept. Idaho courts suggest that the search include:

  • writing a letter to the missing spouse's parents at their last known address and sending it certified mail, return receipt requested;
  • writing friends of the missing spouse who may know where he or she is;
  • contacting the department of motor vehicles for registrations in the name of the missing spouse;
  • checking the telephone book, directory assistance and city directories in the area where the missing spouse might be or may have been;
  • asking friends and relatives who might know the location of the missing spouse;
  • contacting the voter registrar in the county or counties where the missing spouse may be living;
  • checking with the Social Security Administration or the Veterans' Administration;
  • filing a request for information with the Child Support Services Office, if the missing spouse is paying child support;
  • checking records of the tax collector and property assessor to see if the missing spouse owns property;
  • checking any other possible sources that might lead to a current address.

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.

>>> Download the Affidavit of Diligent Search

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 Idaho If the search is fruitless, the Petitioner must complete the following forms:

  • a Motion and Affidavit for Service by Publication CAO 1-7, a notarized statement to which documentation is attached attesting the efforts at finding the missing spouse;
  • a Summons by Publication CAO 1-1A, which is published and effects service on the missing spouse (original and two copies);
  • an Order for Service CAO 1-8, which, when approved by the court, permits service by publication (original and one copy);
  • an Affidavit of Mailing of Summons & Complaint Pursuant to Service by Publication CAO 2-3, which is used in conjunction with service by publication. The completed forms, together with three copies of the original complaint for divorce, the filing fee and a stamped, self-addressed envelope, are returned to the Clerk of Courts. The judge reviews the Affidavit for Service by Publication and if it is acceptable, signs the Order for Service. The Clerk of Courts completes the Summons and returns the divorce paperwork in the self-addressed envelope.

    When the Petitioner receives the Summons, he or she must mail a copy to the missing spouse at his or her last known address and complete and return the Affidavit of Mailing Summons and Complaint Pursuant to Order of Publication of Summons. A copy of the Affidavit, which must be notarized, must be filed. The Affidavit certifies that a copy of the summons went to the missing spouse.

    The Petitioner may then publish the Summons in the newspaper identified in the Order for Publication. The Summons must be published once a week for four consecutive weeks. After the publication is finished, the newspaper sends the Petitioner a notice called Proof of Publication, which proves the publication has happened.

    The Petitioner then files the Proof of Publication and the original Summons, and 20 days after the last date of publication, he or she may complete a Motion and Affidavit and Default. The action then moves forward as a default in favor of the Petitioner.

    From start to finish, Service by Publication takes about two to three months.

    Idaho Service by Publication is described in Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4(d)(2).

    Copyright Notice: These Idaho divorce laws above are copyrighted by 3 Step Solutions, LLC. 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.

  • As seen on Forbes, USA Today, CNN and NPR
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