Service by Publication
Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Service of process is how we formally notify a party that a lawsuit is pending that affects him by delivering papers on that party. It is required for the court to have jurisdiction over the party being served and to give him notice of the case. The case cannot go forward if there is no service of process.
But what if you don’t know the whereabouts of the other party to your lawsuit? Service by publication is a method for serving process on someone you can’t find. It could be that the person is hiding or has simply moved away. Either way, we must make a reasonable effort to find the person before we can employ service by publication. This is often called “diligent efforts.”
If you get permission from the court to use service by publication, you publish a notice in the newspaper designated by law for your county. In Whitfield County, Georgia, that newspaper is The Daily Citizen.
To get permission from the Court to serve process by publication, you must first convince the judge that you have made sufficient efforts to find the person. You will do that by submitting an affidavit to the court detailing what you did to find him. Typically, you would contact relatives of the person, his last known employer and friends of the person. For each person you contact, record the following information:
Name of Person Contacted: ____________________________________________________
Date and Time of Contact: ____________________________________________________
Method of Contact (telephone, email, mail, etc.) _____________________________
Phone Number or Address (address, email address, phone number, etc.)
Relationship (mother, former employer, friend, etc.) _________________________
Results of Contact: __________________________________________________________
If you have any evidence of these attempts, such as a letter or printout of an email, keep that.
In addition, there are some Internet resources you should search:
White Pages: https://www.whitepages.com/
Zaba Search: http://www.zabasearch.com/
Georgia Department of Corrections Offender Search:
Whitfield County Inmate Search: https://www.whitfieldcountyga.com/p2c/jailinmates.aspx
Murray County Inmate Search: https://www.inmateaid.com/inmate-locator/murray-county-ga-sheriff-s-jail
For each search, print out the search results. If the search results don't include the search term (the name of the person in the way you typed it) note that on the print out. If the date and time is not on the printout, note that on the printout, too.
Once you have conducted your search, bring your notes and evidence to your attorney who can help you file a request for permission to perform service by publication.