Notify the Court
Video Transcribed: My name is Jason Lile, and I am an Oklahoma Fathers Rights lawyer. I wanted to discuss with you how you get a divorce when someone’s evading the divorce. As discussed in my videos, this is a no-fault state, and the person asking for a divorce is entitled to a divorce based on incompatibility. What does that mean?
That means everybody who asks for a divorce will get a divorce eventually, but sometimes you can’t find the other person to serve them. Sometimes you’ve gotten through the process, and even if there’s an agreement, or if there’s not an agreement, the court just decided on a trial; they won’t sign the paperwork and can frustrate the process that way. You need an experienced attorney who can help you get around the efforts of the other party to frustrate this process and keep you from getting a divorce.
Let’s just go ahead and take the example of service. Like any other lawsuit or, like anything else, a divorce is a lawsuit in a court. In a lawsuit, everybody is due to service a process; that is a due process right.
What does that mean? That means that they are due under the constitution and the law accurate copies of the first and initial pleading so that they have an opportunity to answer the lawsuit. You can only get service one of a few ways, through a licensed process server handing you the papers. That’s service.
Through a sheriff’s deputy handing you the papers. That’s service. Or through an attorney handing you the papers. That’s service. Sometimes certified mail, under the right circumstances, can be considered service if it’s restricted delivery, but not all the time. You need to have an attorney that knows when and which is appropriate.
But let’s say that, despite your best efforts, you can’t find the person. Well, there needs to be due diligence done, is what the court would call it, to find that person.
People searches, online searches, talking to people, documenting everything that you did to find that person so that you and your attorney can file something called an Affidavit of Due Diligence, which means, hey, here court, this is what we did find this person, and we were still unsuccessful. It’s a sworn statement that says that we did those things. And then, you can ask the court to allow service by publication.
What does that mean? That means that you publish in a legal newspaper in the jurisdiction where the case is being held or a jurisdiction where there’s the last known jurisdiction where the other party is or both so that the court can say, well, that’s the last ditch effort, that’s how we’ve served them.
Once that’s been published, if they still don’t answer the lawsuit, you can ask for a default decree, meaning they didn’t answer the lawsuit. A publication has served them with the court’s permission, and now you should be able to default them, meaning you get what you want in the lawsuit because they didn’t answer.
You should also know that if you default in Oklahoma, all family law matters can be overturned if they’re decided by default if the person asks within 30 days for the court to overturn it and gives any answer as to why. But typically, they come up with an answer; I didn’t know about it, I wasn’t unable to answer, whatever.
How can you keep a person from frustrating the divorce process by avoiding service? An experienced attorney should be able to help you out with that. If you have any questions about family law matters or need an Oklahoma Child Custody Attorney for Fathers or an Oklahoma Child Support Lawyer For Dads, please contact dads.law.