Constructive Service: In order to serve a petition to a missing respondent in a Family Law case, you are required to serve them by publication, also known as constructive service.
Service by publication is a notice printed in an approved newspaper announcing the fact that a case has been filed.
This printed notice is called Constructive Service.
Florida rules of procedure require that a diligent search be performed before you can serve by publication.
The simplest way to accomplish a diligent search that the court will likely accept, is to follow the checklist the court provides in their Notice of Action form 12.913(a).
This form includes a checklist of places you can look for information on the location of the respondent.
While you do not have to look in all of these places, the court must believe that you have made a very serious effort to get information about the respondent’s location.
Also, the court must believe that you have followed up on any information you received from your search efforts.
The following is the list of places and people to contact.
Make sure you document your efforts by recording dates, names, e-mails, phone calls, and letters.
• United States Post Office inquiry through Freedom of Information Act for current address or any relocations.
• Last known employment of Respondent, including name and address of employer.
• You should also ask for any addresses to which W-2 Forms were mailed, and, if a pension or profit-sharing plan exists, then for any addresses to which any pension or plan payment is and/or has been mailed.
• Unions from which Respondent may have worked or that governed particular trade or craft.
• Regulatory agencies, including professional or occupational licensing.
• Names and addresses of relatives and contacts with those relatives, and inquiry as to Respondent’s last known address. You are to follow up any leads of any addresses where Respondent may have moved.
• Relatives include, but are not limited to: parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandparents, great-grandparents, former in-laws, stepparents, stepchildren.
• Information about the Respondent’s possible death and, if dead, the date and location of the death.
• Telephone listings in the last known locations of Respondent’s residence.
• Internet at http://www.switchboard.com or other Internet people finder or the library checked for me
• Law enforcement arrest and/or criminal records in the last known residential area of Respondent.
• Highway Patrol records in the state of Respondent’s last known address.
• Department of Motor Vehicle records in the state of Respondent’s last known address.
• Department of Corrections records in the state of Respondent’s last known address.
• Title IV-D (child support enforcement) agency records in the state of Respondent’s last known address.
• Hospitals in the last known area of Respondent’s residence.
• Utility companies, which include water, sewer, cable TV, and electric, in the last known area of Respondent’s residence.
• Letters to the Armed Forces of the U.S. and their response as to whether or not there is any information about Respondent. (See Memorandum for Certificate of Military Service, Oî Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.912(a).)
• Tax Assessor’s and Tax Collector’s Office in the area where Respondent last resided.
a. Respondent’s current residence is unknown to me.
b. Respondent’s current residence is in some state or country other than Florida, and Respondent’s last known address is: .
c. The Respondent, having residence in Florida, has been absent from Florida for more than 60 days prior to the date of this affidavit, or conceals him(her)self so that process cannot be served personally upon him or her, and I believe there is no person in the state upon whom service of process would bind this absent or concealed Respondent.
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