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What newspaper do I need to post in for service by publication?

October 3, 2017

Every lawsuit, even divorces, require notifying the other side so that they have the opportunity to defend themselves in the proceeding. Serving your spouse with notice of the divorce proceedings is generally done by mail or in person.

Service by publication can meet a court’s requirement for proof of service. It provides constructive notice of the lawsuit. This is still considered proper service of process even if the defendant never actually receives notice or views the publication.

When Is Service by Publication Allowed?

Service by publication is generally allowed when the location of your spouse is unknown or when they are in-hiding or intentionally dodging service. A court will only allow you to perform service by publication when you have done your due diligence to locate your spouse and exhausted all of your options.

Due diligence, in this context, generally means that you have hired a process service to serve the defendant at their last known address and that has failed. It can also include attempting to mail the notice, by certified return receipt, to their last known address or a relative’s house in which they have been known to reside. Due diligence can sometimes be met by using substituted service which is when the notice is given or mailed to a family member or friend of your spouse that has been approved by the court to receive such documents.

Once they have attempted service, you must file a motion with the court asking the judge to approve service by publication.

What Newspaper Should You Use?

Service by publication should occur in a newspaper of general circulation in your area. Some newspapers may charge a fee to run the notice provision. The newspaper you want to use for service by publication can be included in your motion asking the court to approve this type of notice.

What is a Newspaper of General Circulation?

Not every newspaper qualifies as one of general circulation. Only a court order signed by a judge can designate a newspaper as one to be used. After a newspaper receives that decree, they are said to have “adjudicated status” which allows them to post legal notices like divorce summons.

Here is a list of criteria that has been used by courts to determine whether a newspaper is one of general circulation:

1. It prints news of a local, general character. Newspapers dedicated to single topics or to particular profession, calling, race, or denomination do not typically qualify.

2. The newspaper has a subscription base. While notice by publication does not require the defendant to actually see the notice, someone has to.

3. It has been established and in print for a year or more. It also needs to be published to its subscribers or the public at regular intervals.

These requirements aim to ensure that service by publication is not used as a way of avoiding notifying your spouse of the divorce proceedings in hopes of obtaining a more favorable result.

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