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Unfortunately we do not take cases for representation. We are merely for legal information. You need to proceed with the small claims court suit and get a judgement. Once you have the judgement you can ask the court to garnish his wages or put a lien on his property or accounts. Since he was married you can go after the spouse as well.
I understand. I think if you can somehow get him served then that will be optimal, but writing it off is your choice. I still say get the judgement if you can and then your options open up.
Thank you for using our forum. My name is***** am another expert on the forum.
I am sorry to learn about your situation. Based on what you posted, it appears you have already successfully served the defendant, but are having trouble with your matter due to a problem with (1) the proof of service (this can be remedied by having whoever served the summons and complaint provide a declaration and filing that document); and (2) actually locating the defendant so that you can enforce your judgment.
Dealing with the second problem is probably the more critical issue - it doesn't do you a lot of good to have a judgment if you cannot find the individual to enforce it. The easiest and most efficient way to do this is to hire a process server or a private investigator to assist you. Either one of these professionals can run what we call a "skip trace" using proprietary databases using government and financial records to locate individuals for legal purposes. This information is not available to the public and online services that claim to offer these services are either not conforming to the rules for the databases (as noted above, access is highly restricted), or they are not legitimate searches (you may find this information by luck - a lot is online, but if you want the best, ***** ***** to pay for it).
A skip trace will usually run you about $50-$75, and you can get referrals to private investigators or process servers from your local bar association (so try the Alameda Bar Association or the Bar Association of San Francisco).