A & K Service
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Missing spouse?

December 01, 2011
While you may never want see the spouse you are about to divorce, it is important to remain aware of the address and employment location of your ex-spouse. While you may never wish to lay eyes on your ex again, knowledge of his or her whereabouts is critical to both the initiation and cessation of your matter.

Your spouse is entitled to notice of the commencement of divorce procedures and if you are the person initiating the divorce, you are responsible for notifying your spouse of the initiation of the divorce action. You can notify your spouse by personal service through either the sheriff or private process server. You can also send the Summons and Complaint directly to your spouse and ask them to acknowledge receipt of the documents through a document known as an Acknowledgement of Service.

However, if your spouse won't acknowledge service, and the sheriff and the process server are having difficulty serving the documents, can you just forgo service? No, you can't. If you cannot locate your spouse, you may need the services of a private investigator to locate your spouse. Often, this method of location adds additional expense to your divorce. But there are times that this may be money well spent if you have a particularly elusive spouse.

You can also request that your spouse be served by publication in the county news organ. While this may seem the simple answer to your prayers, most courts require that you demonstrate the steps you have taken to locate your spouse, and some judges require substantial effort on your part to prove your lack of knowledge of your spouse's whereabouts.

While you may wish that your spouse would "fall off the planet" it is important that your maintain knowledge of the whereabouts your spouse at all times. This is particularly true if you have children under the age of 18. Knowledge of the whereabouts of your spouse will ultimately save you time and money.

Karen has an MBA from Boston College and received her law degree from Emory. She has an office in Alpharetta and has practiced family law since 1994. She is a Guardian Ad Litem and active Foster Care Advocate with area courts and is also on the Family Law Executive Committee for the State Bar of Georgia. She frequently speaks state wide on family law issues and can be contacted at 770-952-5000.
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