Even if you are unsure about your spouses current residence if you are a resident of Florida for six months or more prior to filing. You can do a substitute service of your spouse by publication.
To file for divorce and serve your spouse through publication, you must take steps and then swear under oath that you have made diligent attempts to either serve your spouse or, if you do not know your spouse's whereabouts, made diligent attempts to locate your spouse. To prove this, you file an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry showing what steps you took along with a Notice of Action for Dissolution of Marriage. You will also be required to file a Nonmilitary Affidavit saying that your spouse is not in active military service in the United States. ( these forms and directions can be found at flcourts.org click the family law forms tab)
Once the requirements to serve through publication are met, you will publish a Notice of Action for Dissolution of Marriage for four (4) consecutive weeks in a local newspaper or publication. The clerk of court may provide you with publications qualified to print your publication. In your notice of action, there will be a date in which your spouse must respond by. If there is no timely response filed, then a default will be issued against your spouse and you may proceed with your divorce through the default process and have an uncontested hearing without your spouse. However, the relief you seek through the court will be restricted. The court will be unable to rule on certain issues such as alimony, child support and distribution of assets and liabilities.
Please note this is not meant to substitute seeking legal counsel and that choosing a lawyer is not something to be taken lightly. If you need help please contact my office for an appointment.
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