Southern California Family Law Blog

Generally, your spouse must be served with divorce papers by personal delivery under California Code of Civil Procedure § 415.10.1 This means the papers must be handed to your spouse by a process server while in their physical presence. Most parties choose to have a friend, relative, or professional process server locate and serve their spouse. However, when you are unable to contact your spouse or do not know where they are currently located, this can be nearly impossible to complete.

Service by Publication

If you cannot contact your spouse, the Court may allow you to serve your spouse in a more nontraditional way. For example, one woman was able to serve her husband via Facebook. A more common method is to serve your divorce papers by publication. In other words, you may be able to publish your divorce papers in a newspaper in order to complete service on your husband or wife.2

In order to allow service by publication, the Court must find that your spouse cannot be served otherwise by reasonable diligence. This means that you must make the same effort that a reasonable person who truly desired to give notice would have made. This will require that you provide many details about your attempts to find your spouse, which can then be included in an affidavit or declaration on your behalf.

How to Serve Your Spouse by Publication

If you get an Order from a judge allowing you to serve your spouse by publication, then you will need to have the divorce papers (Summons and Petition) sent to a local newspaper that will publish the notice for four (4) straight weeks. CCP §415.50(b).

Getting an Order to allow service by publication when you cannot find your husband or wife can be very technical and difficult to achieve. After getting an Order and completing service by publishing your divorce papers in a newspaper, you will still need to complete the rest of the divorce process. Let an experienced family law attorney review your case and assist you in getting your spouse properly served so you can move on with your life.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today If You Are Seeking to File for Divorce

The law firm of Wallin and Klarich is prepared to answer your legal questions and is immediately available to assist you with your case. Our experienced divorce attorneys can help you. We have been practicing family law for over 30 years and have a reliable legal team you can count on. We consider our clients like one of our own family members who deserve prompt and dependable legal representation. Contact us today at 888-749-7428, we will get through this together.


1. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=ccp&group=00001-01000&file=415.10-415.95

2. http://www.courts.ca.gov/20213.htm

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