Catch Me If You Can

Sometimes the other side doesn't want to be found. This is a short guide on how to track down the other side while preserving evidence for court that they cannot be found.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of action items you and your attorney will probably (depending on case details) perform. The purpose of completing these action items is to meet our burden to serve them through an alternative method. In order to do this, and not serve them directly (because they cannot be found) we must establish and preserve an evidence trail proving that we exercised "due diligence" in attempting to locate the other party.

  1. Last Known Address. If you've been divorced, or otherwise in court before, you know that the party's have a last known address listed with the court and if child support is ordered that parent must keep their address current with the court at all times. This is a great way to start as it is a public record and a judicially accepted "last known address" of the party.

  2. Ask the Post Office. Your attorney has access to a form that they can send to the post office and, using a party's last known address, request a party's forwarding address from the mail service. This only works if they have forwarded their mail to their new address with the USPS.

  3. Speak with the Party's Family Members. Most party's are not in contact with the other side's family members. But, the court will want to know whether or not you've at least tried to speak with them (even if its just reaching out via text message or social media) and ask where their son/daughter or family member may be.

  4. Hire a PI. We try and save hiring a PI as one of the last action items so that extra expenses aren't made without good reason. However, if the PI does not locate the party after a diligent search, the PI then writes a statement to the court stating such. The Court uses this as proof that the party is intentionally avoiding service or just cannot be found at all.

  5. Use Social Media. Coming soon service via social media will be available in Texas! This law has been signed by the governor in 2019 and Texas is just waiting for the state Supreme Court to sign it into law.

Assisting your lawyer through this process is essential to locating and/or preserving evidence that the party cannot be found. This is paramount as service is required prior to any legal or court action in the case being conducted.

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