A Guide To Serving Divorce Papers

After you have made the decision to file for a divorce, the next thing that should be on your to-do list is serving the divorce papers to your spouse. These legal documents are typically served on your spouse at their place of residence, employment (or elsewhere) through a fully certified process server. The onus is on you to make sure the civil summons is served to the intended party. Failure to do so could result in dismissal of your case, costing you money, lost time, and unnecessary stress. Process service of divorce papers can actually be an easy task if you choose the right process server.

When can you serve divorce papers?

In most states, after you have filed for divorce, you are granted 120 days to serve the divorce papers. Do note that it is best to check the requirements in your state or hire an attorney before proceeding. If the time frame is not strictly adhered to, the case can be dismissed. However, you may ask for an extension of time to serve the papers should you require it. The court will then review your request. This is typical with service of documents out of the country.

Who can serve divorce papers?

The divorce papers must be served by a disinterested third party.  This means that you cannot ask immediate family members or significant others to serve papers. The far superior method is to hire an experienced process server who knows the laws, can handle evaders, and who will provide a complete and accurate affidavit of service (proof of service).

Should I hire a Process Server?

In most cases, hiring a process server is the best option for serving your papers. Understandably, you are wondering whether it is a worthwhile investment as the costs associated with divorce proceedings are often steep without such added expenses.

The benefits of hiring one, however, are numerous. They are usually patient and tenacious, and you can be assured that they will act without bias. They are also equipped to handle situations wherein the respondent might react violently. Process servers have locator tools, such as skip tracing, at their disposal which is helpful if you suspect your spouse may be evasive. Before hiring a process server, it is important to ask for their credentials, customer satisfaction, costs for their service, and the time they will take to serve the papers. Recommend that you contact Julie at julie@processnet1.com

What if You are unable to serve your Spouse?

It is important to do everything you can to serve the divorce papers to your spouse in person. However, in the case of an evasive or missing spouse, you have a few options. You may ask for permission to serve via alternate service.

In situations where you may not have contact with your spouse, the best course of action would be to hire a reasonably-priced private investigator, especially if you believe that your spouse is living outside the country. You should try all avenues as this falls under the banner of due diligence and is required if the last resort should be necessary which would be to request serving the papers via Publication, service in a local newspaper. Contact julie@processnet1.com for more information, or visit www.globallegalnotices.com.