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Can I Get a Divorce through the Newspaper?

Divorce by Publication

Yes, you can use the newspaper to give notice of a pending divorce action against your spouse if (i) you don't know your spouse's whereabouts; or (ii) your spouse is avoiding being served with the divorce paperwork. Using the newspaper's classified legal section is just one step in the process of getting a divorce by publication.

Using the newspaper to get a divorce, is only part of the process in a contested divorce.

What is a Divorce by Publication? (i.e. Divorce Through the Newspaper)

A divorce by publication is a type of contested divorce where (i) you don't know where your spouse is located; or (ii) your spouse is avoiding being served with the paperwork. The divorce by publication gets its name from how notice of the divorce action is giving to the missing spouse. The notice of the divorce is published in the legal classified section of the newspaper.

What I found, is that they really asking can I use the newspaper as a means in which to get my divorce using a newspaper and a divorce process is only part of the process. It only comes into play in limited situations. 1st let's answer the question when do you need to use the newspaper. It has also been called a divorce by publication. This is used to describe the situation where your spouse is avoiding service or you don't know where your spouse is located. In a divorce, the notice of the divorce action has to be given to the other side. This is often called when you get served the paperwork. Publishing the notice of the divorce action in the newspaper acts as giving service to the other side (i.e. is like handing them the divorce paperwork).

Divorce by Publication Overview

If you do not know where your spouse lives, you have to file a contested divorce. This divorce process begins with filing a complaint for divorce in the domestic relation's division of the circuit court. Your spouse has to be served with a copy of the complaint. Being "served" is just a fancy way of saying that either the sheriff has to give your spouse a copy of the divorce complaint or a private process server has to give him a copy.

If you do not know your spouse's whereabouts, then obviously he cannot be served by a sheriff or private process server. Therefore, your attorney will have to file a motion to have your spouse served by publication. The publication notice sets out that a divorce action has been filed, the name of the attorney and the date by which the missing spouse has to respond to the court or the court could enter a default judgment of divorce.

You cannot get a divorce by just using the newspaper. Publication of the notice in the legal classified ads of your divorce only serves to notify your spouse that a divorce action has been commence in court. Furthermore, you cannot use a divorce by publication if you just don't want to talk to your spouse or your spouse won't sign the divorce paperwork.

What is the Divorce by Publication Process?

  1. Attorney files a complaint for divorce with the court which states the location of the spouse is unknown.
  2. A motion to have your spouse served by publication in the newspaper is filed.
  3. Attached to the motion, an affidavit stating that you do not know residence, location or whereabouts of your spouse and that you can't be ascertained with reasonable diligence is filed with the court.
  4. The divorce case is set for a trial date.
  5. Upon the judge granting the motion, a copy of the notice of divorce action is sent to the newspaper.
  6. The case is set .
  7. Upon the judge granting the motion, a copy of the notice of divorce action is sent to the newspaper.
  8. The notice of the divorce runs in the newspaper once a week for a period of 4 consecutive weeks.
  9. On the trial date, the court has a hearing to review the information contained in the complaint and motion. If the evidence is sufficient the judge grants the divorce. As part of the evidence, you have to testify that you did not know where your spouse is located, and you cannot reasonably determine his location. After all the evidence is presented, the judge grants your divorce.

How Long does a divorce by publication take?

From start to finish, the divorce by publication process in Mobile, Alabama typically takes about four months. The process is started by filing a complaint with the court. Once the judge approves the motion to file the notice of the divorce in the newspaper, the notice has to appear (i.e. run) in the newspaper once a week for a period of 4 consecutive weeks. The notice of the divorce action has to appear in the newspaper, in which was your spouse's last know address.

How long does the notice in the newspaper take?

The notice of the divorce has to appear (i.e. run) in the newspaper once a week for a period of 4 consecutive weeks.

What is the cost of a divorce by publication?

The cost on the divorce by publication includes the filing fee. The filing fee for Mobile County is approximately $220. Also there is the cost of the publication. The cost in the Mobile Press Register is approiamelty $200. Finally, there is the attorney fee for going to court. I normally charge between $500 to $750 to draft the paperwork and to go to court for a divorce by publication.


Monk Law Firm
1111 E I-65 Svc Rd. South #112
Mobile, Alabama 36606
Phone: 251-650-4591
Fax: 866-299-1384

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