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What must I do to ask Federal Court to allow service by publication?

Washington, DC |

Defendant hides from service, certified letters are returned unclaimed. He has custody of my daughter, receives child support - but is hiding from service. The Courts extended our time limit to serve him, (rule 4), directs Marshal to serve. But he is slippery. We know where he lives and works. We know he hides. I sent a Certified Letter to child support, tracking his payment activity and Certified Letter to his Embassy, asking them to contact him. I get letters from my daughter who lives with him! So - how do I ask for service by publication?

Attorney Answers 1


I don't believe that there is a basis in either the DC or the Federal Rules for service of the initial complaint by publication. If the Marshall's Service has not be successful you may want to try a private process server - some of them can be very resourceful, for a fee.

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I have heard of others being able to serve by publication. Why wouldn't there be a basis in this case, when others can do it?

Martha Ann Knutson

Martha Ann Knutson


Sorry - can't speak to what you have heard about other cases. If you wish to proceed that way in this case you'll need a basis in either the federal or D.C. rules for doing so (not clear which court your case is in.)



There are two cases, I am the plaintiff in both. One, is in the 9th District Court. The second Court is Family Court in Washington DC. The Defendant won custody of my daughter in 1999, then abandoned her abroad for nearly six years, whilst falsifying evidence and maintaining an elaborate lie that he has custody to extort child support. The Courts did not know what he did. He is also trying to blackmail me. My daughter sends me letters, he gets child support - but he is notoriously difficult to serve. I am having his embassy contact him as well. His theory is to keep hiding. I do not have the funds to hire a process server.

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