The beginning of any legal action must start with service of process against the opposing party. In particular, when a party decides to initiate a legal action for a number family law related legal matters, such as divorce, child support, legitimation or a modification of an existing order, they will need to prepare a petition and ensure that the opposing party has been provided with notice. This notice will come in the form of physical service of process and will be executed by the sheriff or a court approved process server.
In cases where a potential defendant to a legal action is attempting to avoid service the law has devised a remedy. Unfortunately, another party to a potential family law legal action may suspect that a lawsuit is forthcoming and attempt to avoid service. It is often the case that a spouse has the intuition that the other party is preparing for legal action. There can be a number of reasons why the opposing party may want to avoid being served. It could be that they do not the relationship to end, or it that they are merely trying to be a nuisance. Regardless, there are ways to handle this very difficult situation.
Most family law and divorce law firms utilize a network of experienced expert process servers that specialize in executing service of process. Typically, with detailed information such as where the individual is employed, where they live and other places that they may frequent a process server can complete personal service in a reasonable amount time. However, in other instances, service by publication may be necessary. As provided in O.C.G.A §9-11-4, when the person on whom service is to be made resides outside the state, or has departed from the state, or cannot, after due diligence, be found within the state, or conceals himself or herself to avoid the service of the summons, the judge or clerk may grant an order that the service be made by the publication of summons. The key here is being able to present credible evidence to the court of an attempt to “conceal” oneself. Generally, in order to proceed with a service by publication the party will have to provide documentation of their efforts to locate the other party. To this end, an affidavit from a process server detailing their efforts and the time spent attempting to locate the party is sufficient.
The other party to a divorce litigation can attempt to cause delays in the legal process in a number of ways such as attempting to avoid service of process or withholding discovery. Regardless, an experienced divorce and family law attorney can ensure that your case moves forward and assist you with obtaining your desired result. The Faucette Law Firm has over 13 years of experience handing all divorce and family law related matters such as contested and uncontested divorce, child support, child visitation, alimony, legitimation and modifications. Contact our office today for a consultation.