While in typical lawsuits, you need to be able to locate and serve the other party in order to initiate proceedings, there is another way to satisfy service for a divorce in California. If your spouse abandoned you and you cannot reasonably locate them, you can request for the court to complete service by publication in a newspaper in the area you believe your spouse is located. In order to do so, you must convince the court that you took considerable steps to locate your spouse. This could include hiring a process server, calling your spouse's family and friends, and running internet searches. Once the court approves your request, you must publish the petition and summons in a newspaper in the area you believe your spouse is located for four weeks. After 28 days, the 30-day clock for your spouse to respond begins, and if they don't respond within those 30 days, you can request a default divorce with the court. So, if your spouse has abandoned you and you are worried about the difficulty of getting a divorce, take some comfort in knowing it might be easier than you think!
Maria E. Crabtree, CFLS