Serve by publication

If the judge agreed that the court papers can be served by publication, you will need to arrange for your court papers to be published in a newspaper, once a week for 4 weeks in a row. Then, you or the newspaper must file a form saying that your court papers were published for the amount of time required in the order.

Before you start

Check which newspapers the judge ordered you to publish in

Look at your Form FL-982 to find out which papers the judge ordered you to publish in the newspaper. They will be marked in #6.

How to serve by publication

  • Contact the newspaper

    Get in touch with the newspaper listed on your Order for Publication (form FL-982).

    Ask them:

    • How to get the court papers you need published to them.
    • How to pay them for the publication.
    • How you will get the proof of publication back from them proving that your court papers were published the required number of weeks.
  • Give the newspaper the copy of your court papers

    Give the court papers to the newspaper. Tell them they must be published once per week, 4 weeks in a row. Pay the newspaper for the publication. Your court fee waiver order will not waive the newspaper fee.

  • Check that the proof of publication is filed

    If the newspaper was going to mail the proof of publication to you, file it with the court clerk before your court date.

    If the newspaper told you they would file the proof of publication, check with your court to make sure it was filed. You may be able to check on your court's website to see if it was filed. Some cases may not be online, so you may need to check with the clerk at your court in person or by phone.

  • Wait to see if other person responds

    You must wait 59 days from the day the newspaper published the papers before you can move ahead with your case.

    • First, you wait 28 days while the papers are published
    • Then, once 28 days are over, you have to wait another 30 days 

    If the other person doesn't file a response in that time, the next day (the 59th day) you can file a request for a default. A default stops them from being able to respond in court. Then, you will have to fill out more forms to ask the judge to decide your case without the other side’s input.

    You must have the papers served to that address. An adult, not you or anyone else in your case, must mail a copy of the papers to that address. This person is your server. They must fill out and sign a Proof of Service by Mail (form FL-335) and return to you to file with the court.

    If you waited the 59 days and your spouse didn't response to divorce papers, you can ask for a default and finish your divorce.

    Ask for a default in your divorce

You are done serving these papers. You must wait to see if the person responds. If they don't, you can take the next step in your case.

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