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Las Vegas Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > When Your Spouse Can’t Be Found

When Your Spouse Can’t Be Found


When you want a divorce, you want the process to be as painless and expedient as possible, including quick service of process, quick proceedings and quick ending. However, on occasion, particularly where the separation has occurred years before the proceeding, it is possible for one spouse to have no idea where the other is located, which can cause difficulties in litigation proceedings. If you are trying to obtain a divorce, but cannot find your spouse, you are not without options under Nevada law.

General Regulations

It is important to understand: you are responsible for serving the initial complaint and summons on your spouse, not the court. Thus, you must at least attempt to effect service of process on your spouse – that means providing them with a copy of the complaint and summons, generally by having it personally delivered to them by a third party.

Sometimes, however, you may not be able to locate your spouse in order to have them served. If they have moved without leaving a forwarding address, you will need to try and locate them. This means checking public records, at a minimum. The court may require you to make further inquiries, if the court believes doing so will lead to locating your spouse. After searching all possible avenues, you can complete an Affidavit of Due Diligence and submit it to the court, after which you will either be given other avenues to try, or you will be granted leave to serve your lawsuit by publication.

Service By Publication

Once the court is satisfied as to your due diligence, you will be permitted to serve by publication. This is accomplished by publishing the summons in a local newspaper, to run at least once a week for 4 weeks. If no answer within 20 days after the last day the summons has been published, the plaintiff is said to have fulfilled their burden of service, even if the defendant spouse has not been located.

If the respondent spouse has not answered the summons after the period of publication, a default will generally be entered and the divorce granted. Certain aspects of a divorce are never truly final, however, such as custody and child support. Therefore, if a defaulted party enters an appearance at a later date to challenge those matters, they will be permitted to do so.

An Experienced Attorney Can Help

If service by publication is necessary in your divorce case, it can look confusing and intimidating, but consulting a knowledgeable attorney can be a big help. The lawyers at the Kainen Law Group are happy to try and answer your questions and work with you toward a satisfactory outcome for you and yours. Call our office today to set up an initial appointment.


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