Question: In Florida, what if my spouse cannot be found for service of the divorce papers?
As a general legal principal, you need to give the other side notice that a lawsuit has been filed against them. Usually, this is done by personally serving a copy of your Petition or Complaint on them by a process server.
There is an alternative to this personal service if you do not know the location of your spouse. In this situation, you would need to file a document called an Affidavit of Diligent Search with the Clerk of Court. This document tells the Clerk the court how you have unsuccessfully tried to locate your spouse.
Once the Clerk receives this document, they will be able to issue another document called a Notice of Action. This document needs to be published in a newspaper near the lost spouse’s last known address. The ad needs to run once a week for four consecutive weeks.
If the lost spouse does not respond by the date listed in the Notice of Action, this will have the same legal effect as the spouse being personally served and failing to respond. At this point, the Clerk can enter a default against the lost spouse and your case can proceed to a default final hearing.