How to Place a Divorce Notice in a Newspaper

By Beverly Bird

Although no law can force you to stay married to your spouse, he can make it difficult to divorce him if you can’t find him. The court can’t claim jurisdiction over your spouse and grant you a divorce unless and until he knows you’ve filed. All states allow you to use use “alternate service” to notify him when this happens. One method is to post notice of your divorce in the newspaper.

Step 1

Exhaust every effort to locate your spouse. If you can afford a private investigator, and you know your spouse’s Social Security number, a professional might be able to track him down. If not, reach out to his family members, his last known employer and people in the neighborhood where he last lived. The court will expect you to make a diligent effort to find him.

Step 2

File a complaint for divorce with the court. Most states will allow you to issue subpoenas, called "subpoenas duces tecums," to search for information pertaining to your divorce after you've filed. Check with utility companies and tax collectors for records of possible accounts in the name of your spouse. This might help you locate him. If you still can't find him, you’ve now got active litigation with the court so you can request permission to use an alternate means of service.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

File a motion with the court where you filed your complaint. A motion asks the court to allow you to serve your spouse by publication. In most states, you’ll also have to submit an affidavit or certification explaining and documenting all your attempts to find him. You can usually find forms for these documents on your state's website or elsewhere online.

Step 4

Take a copy of the judge’s order to the legal notice department of your local newspaper, if the judge grants your motion. Ask the newspaper to run notice of your complaint for divorce for the number of days required in the order.

Step 5

Contact the newspaper after your notice has run the required number of days. The publisher must sign an affidavit confirming that this has occurred. The newspaper may submit the affidavit to the court for you, or you might have to pick up a copy and submit it yourself. After the notice has run, you can proceed with your divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to: Divorce Notice for an Absent Spouse


Related articles

How to Divorce a Missing Husband in Mississippi

If your husband skips out on your marriage and disappears, it complicates the divorce process, but it won't stop you from dissolving your marriage. All 50 states, including Mississippi, allow no-fault divorce, leaving you to divorce on the grounds your marital relationship is irreconcilable. However, a petition for divorce requires you to serve notice of the divorce on your husband; therefore, you must prove to the court's satisfaction that you did everything possible to track him down in order to finalize the divorce.

How to Divorce in Florida if Your Spouse Is Nowhere to Be Found

One of the basic freedoms that comes with living in America is that no one can force you to stay married – even if your spouse disappears. Most states have specific laws for dealing with this situation, and Florida is no exception. If you want to officially end your marriage but you have no idea where your spouse is, the state's legislative code sets out exactly what you must do to obtain a divorce.

What Can You Do When Your Spouse Refuses a Divorce Summons in Washington?

No state allows a spouse to block the divorce process by refusing to accept service of the summons and petition. However, that doesn’t stop some spouses from trying. Like all other jurisdictions, Washington allows a petitioner to use alternate means of service when her spouse tries to dodge acceptance of her divorce papers. Service must be achieved so the court has legal jurisdiction over both spouses, but Washington offers several ways to accomplish this.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to File for Divorce in South Carolina When the Spouse's Residence Is Unknown

Not all spouses run immediately to the courthouse to file for divorce when they separate. You might live apart for a ...

Filing a Divorce Notification for an Absent Spouse in Missouri

Missouri allows you to proceed with a divorce if you’ve lost track of your spouse's whereabouts, but you’ll have to ...

How to Get Divorced if the Spouse's Location Is Unknown

Although it’s possible to divorce a missing spouse, technology and the Internet might make it possible to avoid ...

How to File for Divorce if I Can't Find My Spouse in New Hampshire

No state forces you to remain married just because you don’t know where your spouse is living. New Hampshire law ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED