How to have someone served that you cannot locate.
Service By Publication Step 1
As attorney's we often get asked what a Petitioner can do when they are unable to locate someone. A case cannot move forward without some form of service. If you cannot locate someone at a residence, place of business or at any location to have them served with legal documents, then you can try the option of service by publication.
The first step is to file a Motion for Service By Publication. Your motion will have to detail the last known address of the person you are unable to locate. It will detail the type of complaint you have filed and that you are unable to locate the Respondent. Your motion should tell the court briefly what efforts you have made to locate them and what the last contact information was that you had for them regarding where they were employed, where they lived, the last telephone number you had for them and the last communication you had with them.
Affidavit of Diligent Search Step 2
Once you have drafted your Motion for Service By Publication you must attach with that motion a notarized affidavit. This Affidavit of Diligent Search must go into detail about the efforts you have made to locate the Respondent for service. Have you hired a private investigator? Have you done searches on social media, facebook, twitter, instagram? Have you contacted their relatives, friends, or last employer looking for them? Have you done any other internet searches on linked in, white pages or any other websites to try and get current contact information for them? This affidavit lets the court know that you have exhausted all of your resources and were still not able to locate the Respondent for service.
If the court decides to grant your motion, they will sign an Order and file it with the Clerk. Once the Order is signed, you will have to pay the local newspaper for your ad. Once your ad runs the requisite amount of times, your case can be placed on the calendar and will move forward. If you would like additional instructions please contact our office for a consultation.
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