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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in New Hampshire
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. 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 the divorce paperwork), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication. This happens when the Sheriff cannot locate the missing spouse or he or she avoids service.
New Hampshire's Search Requirements and Process
New Hampshire 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 search may entail checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the area where both parties live or lived; asking friends and relatives who might know his or her location; 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 New Hampshire
If the search is fruitless, and the court is satisfied with the effort, it will permit the Petitioner to publish the summons in a newspaper. New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure provide that "[w]here notice by publication in a newspaper is ordered by any court upon any petition, writ or other similar process, the original of which is upon file in such court, it shall be sufficient to publish a citation containing the title of the case, the name of the court in which it is pending, the time and place of the return and hearing, the fact that such original is on file and may be examined by interested parties and such other facts as the court may order."
New Hampshire Service by Publication is New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure. §510:9.
Copyright Notice: These New Hampshire 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.