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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses Alternative Service of Process

Written by Amar Weisman » February 3, 2014 »

Contrary to what some people think, the parties to a divorce or child custody matter keep up with one another's whereabouts for one reason or another, particularly if they share children. However, there are instances when couples have been separated for long periods of time and they have lost complete contact with each other. After a while, one party might decide that it is time for him or her to officially obtain a divorce--but how do you do that when you do not know the location of the other spouse? Your Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer will tell you that part of the process of getting a divorce requires the non-filing spouse to receive notice of it. 

When one party wishes to divorce, or obtain legal or physical custody of a minor child, he or she must properly serve the other party in order to notify him or her that a divorce or child custody action has been started. Under the law, this is known as a Due Process requirement. In Maryland, service can be affected by personally delivering a copy of the summons, complaint and any other documents that have been filed to the individual him or herself, or a copy of those documents can be left with someone who lives in the same home with the other party, provided that individual is of proper age.  Service can also be made via the use of certified mail with restricted delivery.

What Steps Should Be Taken to Locate a Spouse?

If a party goes before a judge to state that he or she is unable to locate the spouse, the judge will likely inquire as to what exactly has been done to try to find him or her and make a decision as to whether or not enough has been done to locate the individual. As your Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer is well aware, there are a number of steps a person can take in an effort to locate a person. For example, an individual with access to the Internet can start by performing a search for the person via the web. Occasionally, a person might be listed on there for one reason or another and that could lead to a current location for the individual.

Additionally, individuals should, when possible, visit the spouse's last known address and his or her last known job. Also, if the spouse has family who lives in the immediate area, checking with them might result in a current address and/or phone number for the spouse. 

What Happens if None of the Above Works to Locate the Spouse?

Of course, not all individuals will be able to find their spouses, especially when years have passed since they first separated from each other. If this occurs, the individual can ask the court for an "alternative means of service" in accordance with Maryland's rule. The Motion will be filed in the Circuit Court For Baltimore County, the Circuit Court For Baltimore City, the Circuit Court For Harford County, or the proper jurisdiction. Keep in mind, however, that the court will require the individual to complete an affidavit stating that he or she has made a good faith effort to serve the spouse, but those efforts were unsuccessful.

If you are seeking a divorce, but are having a difficult time locating your spouse for service, contact a Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC today to learn how we can help.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.