The Judicial Council of California has created a simple, fill-in-the-blank form that allows one spouse to proceed with a divorce even if their husband or wife cannot be located. By filing an Application for Order for Publication or Posting (FL-980), the petitioning party requests the court’s permission to serve their spouse by publishing the summons in a newspaper of general circulation or by posting the summons in a location where the respondent is likely to receive actual notice. The petitioning party must disclose all prior attempts made to locate and serve the missing spouse, including visits to the respondent’s last known address and inquiries made to the respondent’s friends, family, and past and current employers.
If the judge determines that the petitioning party has made reasonable efforts to locate the respondent’s whereabouts and that the respondent cannot be served in a conventional manner, he or she will issue an Order for Publication or Posting (FL-982). The Order specifies how the petitioner may effect service on the respondent using one of these alternative methods.
The law library has several titles that provide in-depth information on service of process:
- The Registered Process Server’s Guide to Service of Process in California / by Tony Klein, Process Server Institute, c2008.
- Handling Service of Process (Serving Summons in Civil Proceedings)/ by Mark D. Lipton, Continuing Education of the Bar, c2009.