Placing a divorce notice in a newspaper, or service by publication, is a last resort to notify your spouse that you are filing for divorce. It is an option that should only be used if the divorce notice cannot be personally delivered to the defendant.
Searching For Your Spouse
Before you can file for service by publication, you must present an affidavit that documents your attempts to locate your spouse. For example, the affidavit provided for the government of Dane County, Wisconsin, provides a checklist including whether you went to your spouse’s last known address, the date of last contact with your spouse, and whether you contacted his relatives. If your spouse’s whereabouts remain unknown, then you may ask the court for permission to serve notice by publication.
Publishing the Notice
Contact the newspaper in the area you believe is your spouse's current residence and explain that you want to publish a divorce notice. The notice must run for a set amount of time which can vary from state to state, according to Serve-Now.com.
After the divorce notice has run for the required time, you must get an affidavit of service signed by the publisher of the newspaper, verifying the publication of the notice. The affidavit of service is proof that the defendant was served by publication and will be filed as part of your divorce paperwork.