Understanding Legal Service of Process

Appointing Curators for Unreachable Defendants

Absentee Defendants and Appointing a Curator

When a person’s whereabouts are unknown or when the person cannot be found and served even after a "conscientious effort," though he may be living or actually present in the state or elsewhere, the person is an absentee. In such cases, you must seek to have an attorney at law appointed (commonly referred to as a curator) by the court to represent the absentee defendant. The petitioner is responsible for the costs associated with the services of a curator and this can run as much as $400 or higher.

 

A  "conscientious effort" on the part of the petitioner usually involves but is not limited to: last known address, telephone book, friends and relatives, and internet searches. A person whose whereabouts are known within or out of state is not an absentee and a curator should not be appointed to represent that person. A judgment obtained with this improper procedure is null.

 

If you believe that you will need a curator appointed to represent an absentee defendant, you should consider consulting with an attorney to help you.

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