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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Rodriguez


Updated: Dec 3, 2023

I often get calls from a potential client who wants to get a divorce, but they have not seen their spouse in years, and they do not know where their former spouse is.

I had a particularly slippery husband in a divorce case who gave a mail drop-off in Wallingford as his main address and moved from home to home so he could not be served by the marshals. He believed that he was above the law. Even his driver’s license gave this mail-drop as his residence. She thought it was hopeless.

But it was far from hopeless and we were able to help his wife divorce him within a few months. Keep reading to see how!

The papers the marshal gives you, that say you are being sued, are called a summons and complaint. When a marshal gives you papers that say you are being sued that is call “service of process.” That is how most lawsuits, including divorces start. Ideally the marshal will place the lawsuit papers in the hands of your soon to be ex spouse and then provide an affidavit saying that he did so. That affidavit is filed with the court when the divorce is filed. It’s one of the first steps to getting divorced.

Staying married to someone you haven’t seen in years and can’t find can have a devastating effect on your financial well being. Mr. Slippery was able to file a joint tax return using his wife’s financial information and she was not aware of it until she received a notice from the IRS stating that she owed several thousand dollars to them. If my client died still married to him he would be able to get money out of her estate depriving her children of a large portion of the money that they are entitled to. He would be entitled to receive social security survivor benefits as a widower.

However, serving Mr. Slippery with process was not a problem for us. We used Connecticut’s substituted service law to have him served online instead of having the marshal come out and serve him the divorce papers directly. First, we explained to the judge that we had been unable to find him. That we had looked him up through directory assistance, had contacted whatever family or friends he had and any former employer that we knew of. All the court needed to know is that a good faith effort was made to find him. The court then ordered that service be made online.

If you want to see what an online notice looks like just go to Connecticut’s Superior Court Case Lookup:

There you will see row upon row of people who cannot be found but who are being sued anyway. Most of these notices are for divorce.

Your divorce proceeding can now go forward, enabling you to move on. Regarding Mr. Slippery, it only took a few months to get a default judgement against him and the client was able to move on with her life. The tax issue was finally resolved and she was happy knowing that this person was now officially out of her life.


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