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Service by Publication

As discussed in “The Complaint for Divorce: Service of Process,” Georgia has specific rules regarding how process may be served upon a defendant. Although it is more common to effectuate service either personally or by acknowledgement, service may also be accomplished by “Publication.”

According to Georgia’s Civil Practice Act, if “the person on whom service is to be made resides outside the state, or has departed from the state, or cannot, after due diligence, be found within the state, or conceals himself or herself to avoid the service of the summons, […] the judge or clerk may grant an order that the service be made by the publication of summons.” Service by publication may only be used as a means of service if the address or location where the defendant may be found is unknown.

O.C.G.A. § 9-11-4(f)(1)(a).

The Civil Practice Act goes on to provide that:

When the court orders service by publication, the clerk shall cause the publication to be made in the paper in which sheriff's advertisements are printed, four times within the ensuing 60 days, publications to be at least seven days apart. The party obtaining the order shall, at the time of filing, deposit the cost of publication. The published notice shall contain the name of the parties plaintiff and defendant, with a caption setting forth the court, the character of the action, the date the action was filed, the date of the order for service by publication, and a notice directed and addressed to the party to be thus served, commanding him or her to file with the clerk and serve upon the plaintiff's attorney an answer within 60 days of the date of the order for service by publication and shall bear teste in the name of the judge and shall be signed by the clerk of the court. […].

O.C.G.A. § 9-11-4(f)(1)(c).