You need family law counsel if the other party's address or whereabouts are unknown. A due diligence search must be done. Normally some attempt at personal service is made. If that fails an amended petition with supporting affidavit is file requested alternative or substituted service or citation by publication or posting if no children or property are involved. Your case really appears to complex for DIY. And if children or property are affected that doubles the need for counsel.
Thomas J. Baker of Baker & Tisdale PLLC principally practices in the Central Texas area, including Bell, Coryell, McLennan, Milam and Williamson counties. The advice given here is not and ahould not be taken as a substitute for in-personal consultation with counsel, particularly where legal documents, such as court orders need to be reviewed. I am Board-Certified in Family Law but not in any other areas of practice.
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 after trying hard. Service by publication is commonly used in a divorce action to serve a spouse who has disappeared without a leaving a forwarding address. In Texas, divorce by publication is not an easy route to go.
When the Respondent cannot or will not be found (and, therefore, cannot be served process by personal service, which is the preferred method), the Petitioner may attempt service by certified mail, which is only valid if the missing spouse's signature appears on the green postal receipt card. If someone else signs for him or her, the Petitioner must try again. If these two steps fail, the court may allow alternative service, which means the Petitioner files a sworn statement and motion the alternative service would be "reasonably effective to give the Respondent notice."
If the missing spouse has been served a copy of the Petition, the process server must complete a Return of Citation, which certifies receipt.
If the Petitioner cannot locate the missing spouse, and the parties have no children and limited property, the court may allow legal notice to be posted in the courthouse. This is called Service by Posting.
If this is not workable, the Petitioner must conduct what is termed a "diligent search" followed by Service by Publication.
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I agree with the other answers he received. Also, do you reside in Texas? In order to have jurisdiction here, one of you needs to have resided here for the past six months and in the county of filing for the past 90 days. One way we often find where people are these days is through social media. If you have not tried that you might give it a shot. But, I agree you need to meet with a local attorney to find out what the options are in your specific please Mini local layers offer discounted initial consults, myself included. I also have some free information available online at betterdivorceAustin.com and Austindivorceseminar.com
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