News and Resources

Your Spouse Ghosted: Can They Still Be Served for Divorce?

La Jolla, CA – Filing for divorce in California requires you to wait six months from the date of filing before the case can proceed. The reasons for this are multitude but include the fact that you must notify your spouse of your intentions to dissolve the marriage. Your spouse can be served by a process server, Deputy Sheriff or certified mail, which is the best way to serve, particularly if you two aren’t getting along.

However, what do you do when your spouse ghosted and can’t be found?

Serving an Unlocated Spouse in La Jolla
Image Source

Process by Publication

There is a process in California that allows you to notify your spouse of your filing of the divorce by publishing a notice in the newspaper where the person is known to reside.

Getting a judge to agree to this isn’t easy, as you will have to convince the judge, based on sworn declaration, that the other party is unlocatable, even after a diligent search. However, this type of divorce notification can be used if the spouse disappeared completely without leaving a forwarding address.

What is a Diligent Search?

In order to get the judge to agree to service by publication, you need to show in good faith that you have made a genuine search for your missing spouse. A qualified and experienced California family law attorney can advise you on the best avenues to peruse, but these points can give you a general idea of how to proceed when looking to serve a party that can’t be found.

  • Directory Searches: Call directory assistance and use internet directories, such as the online White Pages to find any mentions of your spouse or where he or she might have lived recently.
  • Ask Around: Contacting friends and relatives of your missing spouse can sometimes uncover a location or at least a clue you can then follow up on.
  • Post Office: In many cases, your spouse may have filed a forwarding address. Check at the post office for details.
  • California DMV: Auto registrations are another important avenue to pursue when searching for a spouse that doesn’t want to be found.
  • Past Employers & Landlords: You should exhaust all possibilities to find your spouse, such as contacting any employers they once had, or landlords.
  • Voting Register: Check with the registrar of voters, as they may have critical information on your soon-to-be-ex.

Private Investigators

You may be required to hire a private investigator if you cannot locate your spouse by these conventional means, but the judge will decide. Your divorce attorney can help you pursue all angles and follow every lead to locate your spouse for proper service. Once your spouse has been served, your divorce will be able to go ahead as planned.

Don’t file and follow through with your divorce all on your own. Only a California divorce attorney can help you file, serve your spouse, and follow through with the divorce process so that you get the best possible outcome for your case.

Call the experienced attorneys at Griffith, Young, and Lass today, now serving clients in La Jolla, Carlsbad, San Diego, Solana Beach, and San Marcos.

© 2018 Millionairium and Griffith, Young & Lass. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Griffith, Young & Lass are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.


Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.


Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, CFLS
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, CFLS

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, CFLS

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.


  • acfis
  • acfis
  • bear
  • bear
  • bear
  • top
The Typical Divorce Process in California
We deliver results
I am beyond grateful for the entire staff at Griffith, Young, and Lass. I don't even call myself a client anymore, they are my friends that protected my family and fought with me, side by side.-Erik H., San Diego