In order to pursue alternate service methods, it is always required to prove due diligence has been completed in attempting to serve an individual or entity. This means efforts have been made to serve the individual as well as to locate them if an accurate address has not been obtained.
Why is this so important?
Otherwise a process server could make one attempt, declare a non-serve and the attorney could petition for alternate service. After a month of publications an individual who did indeed live at the address where service was attempted but was at work could find their wages garnished as a result of a judgment they didn’t know they had against them or their house seized when they didn’t know they were in foreclosure.
Due diligence is an important aspect of process service. Not only is it necessary to make multiple attempts at a residence during different times of the day (early morning, afternoon and evening), but it is also important to try to locate an alternate address for service if there is confirmation the address is incorrect. The property could be vacant, a neighbor or tenant could say the individual no longer lives there – whatever the way a process server finds out that person no longer lives at that address, there is a responsibility on the part of the plaintiff to seek another address to serve the individual at.
There are times when it is impossible to find an individual without incurring a high cost, when they have made an active effort to hide their tracks. In those cases a judge will generally grant approval to serve by alternate methods, whether by mail or publication. In some rare cases service by social media has also been allowed.
Before that can happen though, a process server must ensure they have made every effort to complete due diligence in their service by making multiple attempts at different times of the day.