When you get a divorce, you have to serve papers on the other party. Every party has the right to notification of a divorce being filed against him/her requiring “Service”. This is called “Service of Process in a Divorce”. Each state has its own service of process requirements in a divorce. Typically when a spouse cannot be located, the filing party must be a legal resident in the city/county and state for the minimum required time to file in that state.
What is “Alternative Service of Process”:
When you can’t locate your spouse to serve him/her with the divorce complaint, you can serve the other party by what is call, “alternative service of process.” This is an alternative service of process procedure that is used when your spouse cannot be located.
- Often you may serve a spouse you cannot locate by publication or posting where the spouse last resided.
- Keep in mind any time frames that must be met for the alternative service to be accomplished (such as how long a Summons may be good for, how long or how often a Notice would need to be posted or published)
- Reasonable efforts must be made to locate the spouse (due diligence) and proof of this must usually be provided to the Court (typically by Affidavit detailing the steps taken to locate the spouse).
- In general, if the spouse is unable to be located, there may be some issues that the Court isn’t able to fully decide without the other party’s acknowledgment of the matter and/or participation (such as support, property, etc.)
Additional State Specific Resources
Maryland Alternative Service of Process Rules
Frequently Asked Questions About Service of Process in Maryland