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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in Iowa
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 service of process), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.
Iowa's Search Requirements and Process
Iowa 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. The court gives permission to give notice by publication only if the Petitioner tries several ways to find the missing spouse. This search entails contacting the missing spouse's parents, brothers, sisters, friends, former employer, or people he or she used to work with; checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the area where the Petitioner lives; searching for the spouse on Internet; and contacting an attorney.
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 Iowa
If the search is fruitless, or if the Respondent cannot or will not accept service or resides outside the state, the Petitioner must also file a Motion and Affidavit to Serve by Publication, form FL-107, which attests to the efforts made by the Petitioner to locate the missing spouse, and an Original Notice by Publication, form FL-108, which is published in the county where the action is filed once a week for three consecutive weeks. The missing spouse has 20 days after the last date of publication to file a response or face a default judgment to the Petitioner who files for the default 90 days later.
Iowa Service by Publication is described in Iowa Code Annotated.
Copyright Notice: These Iowa 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.