Empty courtroomThis is the next post in a series discussing annulments of marriage in Las Vegas, Nevada. The previous post addressed the differences between divorces and annulments. There are distinct benefits of obtaining an annulment versus a divorce, however, because few couples are eligible for an annulment, divorces are much more common. To determine if you are eligible to seek an annulment, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced family attorney. This article will focus on an issue that commonly arises in annulment cases: how to proceed when the location of one spouse is unknown. If you are considering terminating your marriage and need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

As is the case with other litigation proceedings, when a party files a complaint for an annulment with the court, the other spouse is “served” with the annulment papers. This satisfies the legal requirement of formally notifying the other person about pending litigation. The notified spouse will then have a chance to respond to the complaint through the litigation process. When the location of the other spouse is unknown, however, Nevada law allows for service by publication rather than in-person service of process.

To proceed with service by publication, the party seeking an annulment must first make every attempt to locate the other spouse to notify them about the proceeding. The efforts to locate the person will be memorialized in an Affidavit of Due Diligence to be filed with the court. This is often prepared by a third party process server. If the location of the spouse is still unknown following this process, the court will allow a notice to be published in the newspaper. The notice must appear once per week for four consecutive weeks. In addition, the missing person’s nearest relative must be served with the annulment petition. Once complete, the court will hear the annulment case, whether the other spouse is present or not. The person seeking the annulment is still required to file pleadings with the court proving that annulment is justified. If so, the judge will issue a default judgment against the missing party and grant the annulment.

If you are contemplating ending your marriage and need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas family lawyer. My office has significant experience handling annulments, divorces, custody and other family law cases. Call today to speak with an attorney.