Serving Divorce Papers in Florida

by Jennifer from Palm Beach, Florida, Palm Beach County

I have a cell phone number for my ex but the only address I can find is a PO BOX. He will not give me a real address to serve him the divorce papers, I have asked.

He told me to serve myself and mail them to him at the PO BOX.

Is there some other way I can serve him the papers so I can get out of this marriage?

We have been living apart for almost two years now, there are no children, and I want nothing from him but the car I drive, and I can not seem to get a divorce!

Answer to Florida Divorce Question

Dear Jennifer,

If you know his work address, you can serve him at work.

If you don't even have a work address for him the only thing that you can do is to search for him.

The process is called a Diligent Search and Inquiry, and there is a form, called an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry.

This form includes a checklist of places you can look for information on the location of your spouse.

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 your spouse’s location and that you have followed up on any information you received

On the form there are approximately 20 places where you should look for him.

Places to
search include: hospitals, prisons, checking with relatives, utility companies, the military, etc.

If you find a current address for him while you are searching, then you simply abandon your search and serve him at that address.

If you go through all or most of the list, and you still cannot find him then you go to the clerk of court with documentation in hand, showing that you have been diligently searching for him.

You will also need a form called a Notice of Action. At this point, the clerk of court can help you.

What happens next if you cannot find him is this: After you have searched, unsuccessfully, you can then serve him through constructive service.

Constructive service is the publication or advertisement of a legal intent. In your case the legal intent to divorce your husband.

The clerks of court should have the specific wording that must be in the advertisement; and exactly which publications are to be used.

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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