Yuma, AZ – One of the most common reasons for ending marriages has been abandonment. This is a traditional fault based ground for divorce that is still allowed in some states. When a person in Arizona is seeking a no fault divorce, but the other spouse cannot be located to be served the divorce papers, there are some other issues that will emerge. As in most divorce cases, the person looking to get divorced should retain their own lawyer and get advice that is specific to their situation. 

Service of the summons and complaint

A divorce case typically begins when one spouse goes through the procedure to have a summons and complaint drafted by a lawyer. This is then filed in the local family court, and the defendant spouse named in the documents needs to be personally served with the paperwork. In many civil cases, if the defendant cannot be located within a reasonable time, there are other methods of constructive service that are allowed, and the plaintiff may win the case through a default judgment after a certain amount of time.  

An investigation into the person’s location

The person seeking the divorce generally needs the help of an investigator to try to find the other spouse. If an address can be obtained through their investigator, they can be given their papers, even if they live in another state. If the investigator cannot find the person at all, they can submit a sworn statement to the court which details that the person could not be located, despite the investigator’s best efforts. 

Constructive service

Once it is clear that the spouse’s location is unknown, the court will grant some kind of constructive service to be sufficient notice of the divorce. In most cases, this is a small block of text in some kind of local newspaper, which is called service by publication. Although it is doubtful that the defendant would see this and respond, it is considered a valid option by courts when all other means to locate the person have failed. 

Default judgment

The court can eventually enter a default judgment in favor of the spouse that filed. This essentially means that they win their divorce case. However, some of the issues related to property division and other important matters cannot be decided with only one party present. It may also be possible for the defendant spouse to remerge and want to litigate some issues related to the divorce at a later date. 

Divorce lawyers in Arizona

Schneider and Onofry is a family law practice that handles divorces, child custody issues, and various other problems for clients in the Yuma area. Anyone who needs assistance can schedule a consultation with their lawyers. 

Firm contact info:

Schneider & Onofry, P.C.

207 W. 2nd St., Yuma AZ 85364



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