Generally, an uncontested divorce is the fastest and least expensive way to get divorced in New York State. Partly because the spouses have worked out all the details of the divorce and the defendant has signed paperwork agreeing to the divorce. However, the process is slightly different when a spouse cannot be located. When this happens, extra steps and court filings are required.
A publication divorce is started in the same manner as any other uncontested divorce, by filing a Summons with Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint with the court. Then a separate request is filed with the court requesting permission for alternate means of service: service by publication. What this means is that instead of personal service, service by mail or similar service, the plaintiff (the person filing the paperwork) is asking permission to notify or “serve” his or her spouse by means of a newspaper or journal ad.
However, before the request for publication can be submitted to the court, the plaintiff must make a good faith effort to find his or her spouse. Documentation of such must be submitted to the court in the form of an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry, along with a Motion for Service by Publication and Order for Publication.
If the request is granted, the court will state the newspaper or journal in which the divorce publication ad must be published. This is usually a newspaper or journal that is circulated in the last known area that the plaintiff’s spouse lived. The time and frequency in which the ad must run are governed by NY CPRL § 316. This law states that the ad must be published within thirty days of the signed court Order for Publication and run once a week for three consecutive weeks.
The ad itself can be very costly, but if a spouse has not responded to the publication notice within 30 days from the last published notice, he or she has “defaulted.” A default will allow the plaintiff to move forward with the divorce by filing rest of the divorce documents with the court.
The publication ad itself can cost thousands of dollars, requires a lot of work and tacks on months to the divorce process. If you are not up to the challenge or not sure that a New York State divorce by publication is right for you, then contact us today. An in office consultation with a divorce attorney at The Claro Law Firm will empower you with the information you need to make an education decision that is right for you and your circumstances.
Here at The Claro Law Firm, we understand the strength it takes to make the first step toward a new life. Make an appointment today to talk to a divorce lawyer if you are ready to move forward with your divorce. Our divorce law firm is conveniently located in White Plains, NY near the divorce court. Our office will take care of all the necessary paperwork and will commence your divorce by publication should your spouse not be located. Contact us today by phone at 917-300-3334 or online. Our office serves Westchester County including Mount Kisco, Pleasantville, and Irvington.