Monday, April 16, 2012

Petitioner Has No Ongoing Duty to Notify Respondent of Divorce Action

Miles v. Miles, 2011 UT App 359, Utah Court of Appeals October 27, 2011

Wife filed a Petition for divorce in June 2008.  Husband left wife and moved to Florida.  He did not leave a forwarding address with the post office and simply turned in his leased vehicle to the dealer.  Wife tried to have Husband served and his girlfriend’s sister’s home in Florida, but service could not be completed.  Wife filed a motion for alternative service.  The Court granted the same and granted a default divorce decree in November 2008. 

Husband filed motion to vacate the decree in January 2009 and argued that Wife did know where he was and that she should have notified him of the divorce action.  The Court of Appeals found that Wife had no such duty.  Wife had used substantial efforts to attempt to locate Husband; she made attempts by searching with the postal service, she used the internet to search for any new addresses for Husband.  The only address she had for him was that of his girlfriend’s sister’s home where girlfriend’s sister received service on his behalf and even admitted to Wife’s daughter that Husband was living with girlfriend at sister’s home.  Because of these facts, service was proper and there was no further duty (or any duty at all) to make ongoing attempts to notify of the divorce action after service was complete.

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