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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in South Carolina
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 papers), the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.
South Carolina's Search Requirements and Process
South Carolina 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 means due diligence and may include checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the areas where both parties live or lived; known to have 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 South Carolina
If the search is fruitless, the Petitioner files an affidavit attesting to his or her efforts to locate the missing spouse.
When the court is satisfied with the effort, it permits "Service of the Summons" by publication. The Summons is printed in a designated newspaper once a week for three weeks.
South Carolina Service by Publication is described in South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, 15-9-710.
Copyright Notice: These South Carolina 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.