Serving by Publication in Pierce County-Tacoma Washington (12/8/2012)

Service by publication is the most expensive option when serving legal documents. The most common and best type of service is always personal service; if personal service is not feasible then substituted service is the next best alternative. Service by first class mail signature required can be completed in certain circumstances but most individuals will simply just not sign the envelope, and lastly we have service by publication. Serving by publication requires an order or special permission from the court where your action is filed. There are a few reasons that service by publication could be justified. For instance, if the defendant is homeless or say the target is eluding or evading service. For these reasons the court may or may not issue you an order granting service by publication. This type of service is by far the most costly and time consuming way to effectuate service on a defendant. All other options should be completely exhausted before attempting service of this type, including multiple attempts at old addresses, deposing neighbors, family members, and any coworkers to diminish all possibilities of exacting a good address. If you still have not procured a good address on the individual a Skip- Trace should be done to show good faith effort on your part to locate the opposing party. The process sought out to serve by publication varies from county to county and each local jurisdiction has its own set of rules that must be adhered to in order to satisfy the court. In most cases service by publication is handled by attorneys however if you cannot afford one you can try using pre-paid legal. They offer full service legal consultation on all legal matters for a nominal fee of 17.00 dollars a month with no annual contract. This means you can use the service for the duration of your case and cancel it at any time. Pre-paid legal services can be purchased from Trying to navigate the minutia of legal forms can be troublesome especially if you do not have working knowledge of legal documents and civil process. For this reason we recommend calling an attorney for further instructions before attempting to do this yourself. However, if you are not able to get an attorney there are some free resources that can help you along the way. has a great how to guide and instruction forms available on their site; they are also a great resource for other legal documents and forms. Keep in mind not all situations are alike so use caution when using these forms yet helpful they are not foolproof. Once you have completed your declaration for service of summons by publication and all your paperwork has been submitted to the court you will need to obtain the court order, keep in mind you will need to show detailed proof that you have no other way to effect service. Google, Wikipedia,, and the pierce county law library are good resources in addition to pre-paid legal for information on execution of service by publication.

Running your ad in the newspaper!

Once you have the signed court order call your county clerk for a list of newspapers approved for publishing legal newsletters in your county see-(RCW 65.16.070). Also see the Washington state legislatures website or a quick Google search for (service by publication WA) this will produce the same result. Boilerplate samples from the states website of (RCW 4.28.110) and (RCW 12.04.100) are below for reference. Most Legal notices generally are ran in the Tacoma News Tribune or The Tacoma Daily Index. The Tacoma Daily Index will run 100 words for 31.00 dollars for the first day and 27.00 for additional days, totaling 409.00 dollars for 3 weeks and 818.00 for a 6 week run. Publications usually run for 3 to 6 weeks consecutively depending on what court action you have, please consult an attorney. The newspaper will generate an affidavit of mailing at the conclusion of your run. You can reach the Tacoma News Tribune at 253-597-8742 or the Tacoma Daily Index at (253)-627-4853. Don’t forget to file the completed affidavit of publication with the court.

RCW 4.28.110 and RCW 12.04.100 (district court) samples are below for reference.

RCW 4.28.110 (Service by publication as of 12/8/2012)

Manner of publication and form of summons.

The publication shall be made in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the action is brought once a week for six consecutive weeks: PROVIDED, That publication of summons shall not be made until after the filing of the complaint, and the service of the summons shall be deemed complete at the expiration of the time prescribed for publication. The summons must be subscribed by the plaintiff or his or her attorney or attorneys. The summons shall contain the date of the first publication, and shall require the defendant or defendants upon whom service by publication is desired, to appear and answer the complaint within sixty days from the date of the first publication of the summons; and the summons for publication shall also contain a brief statement of the object of the action. The summons for publication shall be substantially as follows:

In the superior court of the State of Washington for the county of…

… , Plaintiff,



… , Defendant.

The State of Washington to the said (naming the defendant or defendants to be served by publication):

You are hereby summoned to appear within sixty days after the date of the first publication of this summons, to wit, within sixty days after the… day of… , 1… , and defend the above entitled action in the above entitled court, and answer the complaint of the plaintiff… , and serve

a copy of your answer upon the undersigned attorneys for plaintiff… , at his (or their) office below stated; and in case of your failure so to do, judgment will be rendered against you according to the demand of the complaint, which has been filed with the clerk of said court. (Insert here a brief statement of the object of the action.)

… ,

Plaintiff’s Attorneys.

P.O. Address…



[2011 c 336 § 98; 1985 c 469 § 2; 1895 c 86 § 2; 1893 c 127 § 10; RRS § 233.]


Publication of legal notices: Chapter 65.16 RCW.

RCW 12.04.100 (district court)

(Service by publication as of 12/8/2012)

Service by publication.

In case personal service cannot be had by reason of the absence of the defendant from the county in which the action is sought to be commenced, it shall be proper to publish the summons or notice with a brief statement of the object and prayer of the claim or complaint, in some newspaper of general circulation in the county wherein the action is commenced, which notice shall be published not less than once a week for three weeks prior to the time fixed for the hearing of the cause, which shall not be less than four weeks from the first publication of the notice. The notice may be substantially as follows:

The State of Washington,

| | > | |


County of…

In justice’s court,… justice.


You are hereby notified that… has filed a complaint (or claim as the case may be) against you in said court which will come on to be heard at my office in… , in… county, state of Washington, on the… day of… , A.D. 19… , at the hour of… o’clock… m., and unless you appear and then and there answer, the same will be taken as confessed and the demand of the plaintiff granted. The object and demand of said claim (or complaint, as the case may be) is (here insert a brief statement).

Complaint filed… , A.D. 19…

… , J. P.

[1985 c 469 § 6; Code 1881 § 1720; 1873 p 337 § 27; RRS § 1766.]


Legal publications: Chapter 65.16 RCW.

(RCW 65.16.010-160) – (12/8/2012)

(RCW 12.04.100) – (12/8/2012)

(RCW 4.28.100) – (12/8/2012)

(RCW 4.28.110) – (12/8/2012)

Leave a Reply