What occurs before publication? First off, you must get leave from the court to serve somebody via publication. It usually happens when a person is unable to located an individual in question, who is intentionally seeking to evade service of process.
Here's how it works:
Once you've failed to serve process/summons for a family law proceeding physically, usually by a process server who hands the summons and petition directly to your Ex. You attempt to get an affidavit of due diligence from your process server who will detail the various ways service was unsuccessfully attempted and the efforts that were made to obtain your Ex's location.
You then move the court to permit service by publication by filing the following documents 1). Motion and Affidavit for Service by Publication (which includes your Affidavit of Due Diligence) that asks the court to allow you to serve the opposition via publication; 2). An Order for Service by Publication, which the judge will sign; and 3). Summons by Publication, which is just the literal text that the news paper will print.
So long as you've completed the affidavit portion correctly, which essentially just sets forth the various ways in which you've attempted to locate you Ex to physically serve them. Again, by far the easiest is to hire a process server to attempt service at the last known address for your Ex, and allow them to charge you an extra fee to skip-trace your Ex, etc., so the process server can just write you an affidavit of due diligence - which should cause the judge to sign your Order for service by publication. During Publication So, once you've received back a court conformed Summons by Publication, you simply determine the newspaper of general circulation within you Ex's last known physical address, which is most likely to give them notice of service via publication. In Boise, Idaho and most areas within Ada County - use the Idaho Statesman.
Call the newspaper, and schedule to have the Summons published on the same day for 4 consecutive weeks. That's 4 publications - there's a charge for the publication which is around $100. Don't forget, that within 10 days of having received the Order for Service by Publication you have to mail the court-signed Service by Publication to your Ex's last known address; after doing so, file a document called Affidavit of Mailing of Summons verifying that you did. After Publication Once the final publication has occurred, service is deemed to have been effectuated, but it must be recognized by the court by filing two final documents, first, the Original Summons and second, proof of publication, which is a free document generated by the newspaper saying they made all such publications.
Accordingly, if you've followed the process correctly, the 20 day period for responding to your litigation will commence the day the final publication occurred, and you can commence default proceedings against them 20 days from that date should they fail to properly respond to your service by publication!