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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in Indiana
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 accept the divorce paperwork), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.
Indiana's Search Requirements and Process
Indiana 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.
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 Indiana
If the search is fruitless, the Petitioner files "[a] praecipe for summons along with supporting affidavits that diligent search has been made [,] that the defendant cannot be found, has concealed his whereabouts, or has left the state, and shall prepare the contents of the summons to be published. The summons shall be signed by the clerk of the court or the sheriff in such manner as to indicate that it is made by his authority."
The Summons contains the following information: a) the name of the missing spouse, b) the court and docket number, c) the title of the case as shown by the complaint, d) the name of Petitioner's attorney, e) a "brief statement of the nature of the suit, which need not contain the details and particulars of the claim," f) a "clear statement that the person being sued must respond within thirty days after the last notice of the action is published, and in case he fails to do so, judgment by default may be entered against him for the relief demanded in the complaint."
The summons must be published three times in a newspaper "authorized by law to publish notices, and in the county where the complaint or action is filed, or where the defendant resides or where he was known last to reside. If no newspaper is published in the county, then the summons shall be published in the county in this state nearest thereto in which any such paper may be printed, or in a place specially ordered by the court. The person seeking the service or his attorney may designate any qualified newspaper, and if he fails to do so, the selection may be made by the clerk."The first publication must prompt and each two succeeding publications at least seven and not more that fourteen days after the prior publication.The newspaper then must return an affidavit authenticating publication.
Indiana Service by Publication is described in Indiana Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4.13.
Copyright Notice: These Indiana 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.