A client made a consultation a few months ago to enquire about making an application for a Divorce and given that we specialise in Family Law there did not appear to be anything unusual about this at the outset. And so his story goes as follows:  my client was married in 2004. His wife is originally from Latvia. They separated in early 2006 after his wife discovered my client was having an affair.
My client ended up in a new relationship with this third party and subsequently had a child together. Understandably his wife moved out of the family home but remained in Ireland until early 2011 when she then left to return to Latvia. My client now wants to obtain a Divorce and marry his new partner but unfortunately he has no address for his wife. We contacted our private investigators and through a series a investigations involving visa cards, PPS numbers and even facebook we discovered that she was most certainly living in Latvia but we are still unsure of her exact address!
This of course is a huge problem for our client, as all legal proceedings must be served directly on his wife. However there is an exception to this rule that fall under Order 10 of the Superior Court Rules.
Save where otherwise provided by statute or by Rules of Court, service of a document shall be effected upon a person in the State by delivering to that person a copy thereof or by leaving the copy for that person at his or her last or most usual place of abode, or at his or her office, shop, factory, home or place of business with that person’s husband or wife, as the case may be or with a child or other relative (apparently residing with that person) of that person or of his wife or her husband as the case may be, or with any agent, clerk, servant or employee of that person, or with the person in charge of the house or premises wherein that person usually resides, provided that the person (other than the person upon whom service is to be effected) with whom the copy is left is not under the age of sixteen years and is not the person instituting the proceedings
14. (1) Wherever the Court is satisfied upon ex parte application made in that behalf, that, for good cause shown, service of a document cannot be effected in a manner or in any manner prescribed by these Rules, it may make an order for substituted or other service or for the substitution for service of notice by advertisement or otherwise. Particulars of such order shall be endorsed on the original and each copy of the document to be served.
(2) Where the Court is satisfied that any particular mode of service prescribed is at any time not then available, it may by order in writing direct that the service of documents or of any particular class of documents be effected in such other manner as it thinks proper. Such direction shall be retained by the Clerk and shall remain in force until the said mode of service is again available or until the direction is revoked by the Court.
15. The Court may, if it sees fit so to do, deem the service of any document actually effected in any proceedings, even though not effected in a manner prescribed by these Rules, to be good and effected service.
This allows an application to be made to the courts for substituted service of legal proceedings. We explained the situation in detail to the judge, showed the judge proof that we knew his wife was living in Latvia but we were unable to find an exact address. We then applied to serve proceedings on her by way of advertisement in two Latvian national papers. The judge allowed us to serve through advertisement and we were eventually able to obtain a Divorce for our client.
It is important to realise that a Judge must be absolutely satisfied that the respondent (the person receiving the legal proceedings) cannot be located and that every possible effort has been made to find him/him.
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