How To Serve Divorce Papers

Getting a divorce may be one of the hardest (or it could actually be the easiest) decisions one can make in his or her life. But if your relationship with your spouse just becomes too unbearable and too constraining it doesn’t help you grow as a person any more, you may just have to file for a divorce. Although divorce is a very common topic in these modern times, not everybody knows how to pursue this when they finally decide to push through with it.

You begin the divorce by completing the necessary paperwork, the divorce petitions or summons. All information regarding your marriage is listed in the divorce petitions, as well as the reasons you are asking for a divorce. You file this in a court. Usually, the proper court to file this is the court that is within the jurisdiction of where your spouse is currently residing.

After accomplishing the paperwork, you need to serve the divorce papers to your spouse. You can actually do this yourself, but this is potentially awkward, as you would rather avoid any contact with your spouse before the actual divorce. So here are some different options to help you serve your divorce papers.

  • Personal Delivery. Divorce papers can actually be brought by hand. But since you would rather avoid awkwardness, you can ask someone else to personally deliver your divorce papers to your spouse. Make sure that this person is above 18 years of age. Also, this person must not be your child. Remind the person to get your spouse to sign and affix the date on the Acceptance of Service paper. This verifies the receipt of the divorce papers.
  • The Sheriff or process server.  You can approach the Sheriff or a process server to bring your divorce papers for you if no one else can bring the papers for you. Make sure that the person serving the papers for you signs the proof of service form when the papers have been served.
  • Certified Mail. The Postal Office is actually still in service in this era of the Internet and e-mail. When mailing through the Postal Office, you have the option of ensuring that the recipient personally receives your mail. This is called First Class Mail, and would require a nominal fee. The Postal Office will bring the divorce papers to your spouse and would ask him or her to sign a detachable card. This would be mailed back to you and will serve as your proof of service.
  • Publication. If all else fails, the court can allow a service to be made by publication. For a fee, you can announce your divorce petition in the newspaper that is most likely read by your spouse. For proof of service, you would need to secure a copy of the newspaper notice stating how long the announcement was run.

If all of these methods fail, you can serve the papers yourself to ensure that your spouse does get them.

When you have already been able to serve your divorce papers, it would be time to get legal and emotional help to help you get through your divorce.


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