Florida Constructive Service for Divorce

by Katie from Clearwater, Florida, Pinellas County

My spouse lives in Illinois, but I have lived in Florida for the past six months.

Can I use constructive service to serve the petition for dissolution of marriage?

Answer to Florida Divorce Question

Dear Katie,

This is a good question.

Generally speaking, "constructive service" is for those divorce petitioners who either don't know where the other party is and have reasonably attempted to find out where they are, or both.

If you know where your spouse lives or works you must first attempt personal service.

You can get a Summons for Personal Service, Form 12.910(a) and a Process of Service Memorandum, Form 12.910(b) from the courthouse where you file your Florida divorce petition. You should then contact the sheriff's department in the county where your spouse lives for instructions on having them serve a "foreign" summons.

If they do not serve foreign summons, you will need to contact a Process Server from the National Association of Professional Process Servers, NAPPS, in that county to have him served. It sounds complicated, but, really, it's not that bad. The Clerk of Court or a licensed process server should have all the information you need.

If you don't know where your spouse is, you can use constructive service by following the instructions on the Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry, Form 12.913(b). Then you will need to publish a notice by your county or circuit court guidelines. Once again, your court clerk will have the information and procedure for you to follow. Every county has their own publication procedure.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Florida Constructive Service for Divorce

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Thanks very much!
by: Anonymous

This is exactly what I was going to ask you guys. Thank you. And thank you for the links. - Jan

--Your welcome. --Staff

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