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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in Kansas
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 or by mail, which are the preferred methods of service), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.
Kansas's Search Requirements and Process
Kansas 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; that is, "[i]n actions to obtain a divorce, maintenance or an annulment of the contract of marriage if the defendant resides out of the state or if the party with due diligence is unable to make service of summons upon the defendant within the state."
Due diligence might include checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the area where both parties live or lived; asking friends and relatives who might know the location of the missing spouse; checking the post office for any forwarding address of the missing spouse; and 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.
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 Kansas
If the search is fruitless, the Petitioner files an affidavit stating that he or she has made a "a reasonable but unsuccessful effort" to ascertain the whereabouts to the missing spouse and that "[t]he affiant is unable to procure service of summons on any of the specified defendants within this state."
The notice is published once a week for three consecutive weeks "in some newspaper published in the county where the petition is filed and which newspaper is authorized by law to publish legal notices. If there is no newspaper published in the county, the notice may be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the county."
"The party seeking to secure service by publication shall, within seven days after the first publication, mail a copy of the publication notice to each defendant whose address is stated in the affidavit for service by publication."
Service by publication is proven by an affidavit showing the dates upon which and the newspaper in which the notice of publication was published. A copy of the notice shall be attached to the affidavit, which shall be filed in the cause.
Kansas Service by Publication is described in Kansas Rules of Civil Procedure, 60-307, Service by Publication.
Copyright Notice: These Kansas 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.