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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in Oregon
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. 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, the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.
Oregon's Search Requirements and Process
Oregon 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 Oregon, this means the petitioner has "not been able to determine the current whereabouts of the Respondent" after mailing a certified letter that "was returned unclaimed."
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 Oregon
If the search is fruitless, the Petitioner files an Affidavit of Petitioner a notarized statement. This affidavit is part of a Motion and Order Allowing Publication of Summons.
When the court is satisfied with the effort, it Issues an Order of Publication, which gives the Petitioner permissions to publish a Summons "once a week for four consecutive weeks in [a newspaper]...found and determined to be... in general circulation...[and] which ...is designed to be most likely provide notice to the respondent of the action...taken against him or her."
The Motion and Order Allowing for Publication of Summons; Affidavit of the Petitioner permits the Petitioner to advertise the Summons after he or she has made a good-faith but unsuccessful attempt to serve process on a missing spouse who cannot or will not be found. The Affidavit authenticates his or her good-faith effort to locate the missing partner. The motion and order, when approved, permits the Petitioner to publish the Summons in a newspaper, after which the Respondent is considered served.
The court may require the Petitioner to make a brief appearance to answer questions about his or her efforts to locate the missing spouse.
Under Oregon law, in addition to service by publication, a copy of the Summons must be mailed to the missing spouse's last known address. This step may be omitted, however, when the Petitioner does not know the last known address of the missing spouse.
After publication, the missing spouse has 30 days to respond, after which the Petitioner may apply for a Motion and Order Allowing Judgment by Default.
From start to finish, Service by Publication takes about three months.
Oregon Service by Publication is described in Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 7.
Copyright Notice: These Oregon 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.