How Do I Serve Notice by Publication, or Can I Avoid It?

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“How do I go about getting divorced via a newspaper ad in Atlanta, GA? The scenario: I was married for 4 months and decided to divorce spouse because of physical abuse. I printed all the forms from our “Fulton Family Division” website and my spouse and I signed and had all documents notarized except for the settlement agreement because we didn’t have any property or children together.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

The court responded stating that because I lived in Clayton county and was filing for divorce in Clayton, I needed to amend the forms I submitted by changing everywhere “Fulton county” appeared to “Clayton county”.

I requested a copy of the original forms and made the changes to the copied forms with amended written on the top of them. Because I could not locate my ex-spouse to re-do the forms, along with the forms I also submitted a letter stating this fact and the settlement agreement with my signed signature and notarized, showing that we had no property together.

The court responded stating that this was not sufficient. So now I don’t know what to do. Should I transfer the original documents to Fulton county, since I have recently moved to this county? I don’t see why this is so difficult, being that he has already signed the acknowledgment of service. Or should I put an ad in the newspaper, and if so how do I go about this?”

There are a couple of different ways that you can go about this, but unfortunately every court’s local rules are different. If I were in your situation, I would go down to the Fulton courthouse, and speak with the clerk of courts in person. I would ask them whether it would make sense to refile your original documents, which are now accurate as you now live in Fulton. Or if you should request a hearing with the judge, during which you can request from the court leave to amend those documents and ask the court to deem that the notice to your husband was sufficient. If neither of those are options, then in order to serve notice by publication you just need to take out an advertisement in one of the publications judged acceptable by the court. The court clerk should have a list of such publications, and that publication should be able to help you with the wording of your ad.

Recommended reading (click on the picture for details):
Divorce Yourself: The National Divorce Kit (Divorce Yourself (W/CD))



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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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