how to serve divorce papers

Any couple getting married would never imagine that they could one day end up getting a divorce and breaking the family apart. But the reality of it is, about forty percent of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. If you’re here to learn more about divorce proceedings, particularly how to serve divorce papers, Marrison Family Law is here to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding serving divorce papers.

Serving Divorce Papers Frequently Asked Questions

Can I serve the divorce papers myself?

The short answer is ‘no.’ Most U.S. states do not allow the petitioner to personally serve the divorce papers to the Defendant. A third party who isn’t directly involved in the divorce proceedings should be the one to serve your spouse/defendant the papers. According to Marrison Family Law, you don’t have to hire the services of a professional process server; you can ask a colleague, friend or relative to serve the papers. Remember that the process server should be at least 18 years old.

What are some of the options for serving divorce papers?

You may hire the services of a professional process server to personally serve the papers to your spouse. But as mentioned above, the process server doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional in the field. You can ask someone neutral to serve the papers like a colleague or friend, or a county sheriff or marshal.

Whoever serves the divorce papers must make sure to have the Affidavit of Service duly signed by your spouse. This is your proof that the papers have been served and personally received by the Defendant.

Deadline for serving divorce papers

Time is a critical factor in a divorce case. Marrison Family Law reminds petitioners that the Defendant should receive a copy of the complaint and summons within 120 days from filing. If you fail to serve the papers within this time frame, your petition will be forfeited, and you will have to start all over again.

If you still can’t get hold of your spouse and you’re nearing the deadline, you can ask the Court for an extension. The judge will still review your declaration/request for an extension so make sure that you do not file this declaration at the last minute.

What paperwork do I need?

In general, you will need to accomplish two documents: the Complaint for Divorce and the Summons. Once you’re accomplished these forms, your spouse should receive copies of the same. According to Marrison Family Law, you have to make sure that copies of the documents are hand-delivered and not mailed. If you filed for Joint Preliminary Injunction, a copy of this should also be served to your spouse.

If you still have questions regarding divorce proceedings and serving divorce papers, please feel free to send them to Marrison Family Law through this site. You are encouraged to browse the rest of the blog site as some of your questions may have already been answered in posts already published here.

Stay tuned for more.