Service By Publication in California
In California, if you do not know the whereabouts of a defendant or respondent, you can petition the court for permission to serve the papers “by publication.” To serve a party by publication means that you publish the Summons and all required documentation in a newspaper of general circulation. The selected newspaper publication must be in an area the defendant/respondent is known to reside in. California law requires the Summons to be published for 4 weeks in a row, at least once a week.
You will have to persuade the court to agree to service by publication. You will have to prove to the court that you made several attempts to find the defendant/respondent but were unsuccessful. The court will require in most cases for you to preform a skip trace or investigation to locate defendant. Contact your court clerk and review the local rules to find out what efforts the court requires in attempting to serve the documents prior to granting a request for service by publication.
You will need to complete FL-980, Application for Order for Publication or Posting, You will be required to describe in detail what efforts you have made to find the plaintiff/respondent in order to serve him/her. You should attach documents that support your service of process attempts. Direct Legal Support Services can help you gather such documents to support your petition. Next, complete the Order for Publication, FL-982. File all of the required forms with the court clerk. Retrieve the Order for Publication from the clerk to find out the judge’s decision.
How to Serve By Publication in California
Once you obtain an Order for Publication from the court, review the form to determine the name of the newspaper in which the Summons must be published in. As mentioned above, the Summons must be published at least once per week for 4 weeks in a row. The newspaper will provide you with an affidavit upon completion confirming the Summons was published and a copy of it. The affidavit and publication must be filed with the court. Service by publication will be complete after the 28th day of the first date the document has been published.
If you are able to locate the plaintiff/respondent during this time period, you must have the person served directly. The process server will then be required to file a Proof of Service.
Contact Direct Legal Support Services
Contact Direct Legal Support Services for assistance with serving a plaintiff/respondent by publication. We can file all of the required forms on your behalf to ensure service by publication is performed correctly. If the court denies your petition to provide service by publication, we can utilize other resources to help you locate or track down a subject or entity for service of process.