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What If I Can't Serve Divorce Papers to My Spouse?


Once you file for divorce and get all of the necessary paperwork, it can feel like a major weight off your shoulders. After all, you’re moving in the right direction to getting your life back on track; however, there’s still a pretty huge obstacle in your way: actually serving the divorce papers to your spouse.

If your spouse doesn’t know the divorce is happening, in many situations, it can’t. Sounds like it should be pretty simple to just walk up to them and hand them an envelope, but matters are more complicated than that. In most states, including Indiana, you cannot actually be the one serving the papers. It has to be someone else over the age of 18, such as a professionally retained divorce attorney.

But beyond that little speedbump, there’s also the trouble of finding your spouse. It is not uncommon for a spouse to move away and try to break all connections, even before the word ‘divorce’ is even uttered. They could vanish into the woodworks of the city, or even into the woodlands of the surrounding area. What can you do then if you aren't able to serve the papers?

Putting Out an APB

You might have to get creative to find your ex, and you should also get technical. Searching their name on the internet is a great solution that is rarely at the front of peoples’ minds. Any recent activity or residences will probably come up and you can go from there. You will also want to get in touch with as many of their friends and family members as you can and keep records of your conversations if permitted. Lastly, you can actually publish the divorce announcement in a public newspaper in the city of their last known address.

Your end goal is to show that you have made reasonable and significant efforts to contact them. If you have done so, the court judge should grant you “good service,” which means that you have done your part and the divorce can proceed, with or without the papers being officially serviced.

For more questions about divorce procedures and complications, call 888.211.3888 to talk to our Indianapolis divorce attorneys at Roberts Means Roncevic Kapela LLC. Our highly-experienced and creative legal team is ready to find a solution for you. All you need to do is request your consultation today.

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