Tampa Service by Publication Lawyer
The long road leading to a divorce is one with many obstacles. Arguments, jealousy, and bitterness can cause a person to say and do things they never thought they were capable of. Pure frustration and the overwhelming desire to leave a toxic situation are possible catalysts for a person to make themselves inaccessible. But just as an ostrich can’t avoid danger by sticking its head in the sand, a person can’t escape an imminent divorce by disappearing.
When you can’t track down your spouse, you still have options to proceed with a divorce. If the spouse being served is unavailable, certain jurisdictions will allow something called “service by publication.” This is when the person filing for divorce puts an ad for the lawsuit in a publication approved by the court, a newspaper for example.
Our Tampa service by publication lawyers help residents in Tampa and the surrounding area initiate legal action against defendants that are unable to accept the delivery of legal documents because they can’t be found.
The Purpose and Types of Service
To begin the process, the spouse initiating the divorce (the plaintiff) must file a petition in the office of the county clerk. The plaintiff then receives a summons from the clerk’s office, which is a legal article that puts the plaintiff’s spouse (the defendant) on notice that a case for divorce has been filed. At this time, the defendant is also notified they must appear in court.
Personal service is the type of service most frequently used. The summons and divorce filing are delivered directly to the defendant. At our firm, we can hire a professional process server on your behalf to deliver the paperwork. Substitute service occurs when the summons and filing are delivered via certified mail or delivered to the defendant’s home or place of business.
But if the defendant is not accessible, service by publication is needed. It doesn’t matter if the defendant forgot to share his or her mailing address or hasn’t kept in touch. They still need to be notified. When the plaintiff notifies the defendant of a lawsuit by publishing a notice in a court-approved publication, this is called a “constructive notice.” The defendant has until the date of default, which is published in the official notice, to respond.
Though the defendant may not have received the notice physically, the courts consider the public display of the lawsuit sufficient enough to satisfy the notice requirement allowing the lawsuit to begin.
In general, this is only allowed if all other options have been exhausted.
Let Us Help You Today
Regardless of how you would like your spouse to be informed of your need for a divorce, we can provide service of all types. If you are seeking a Tampa divorce lawyer to help you with service by publication, call 813-242-4404. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you.