Once you’ve decided to get a divorce, you may be wondering how to serve divorce papers on your spouse. To begin with, the initial paperwork is called a divorce petition or summons, and it outlines all the important information about your marriage and what is being asked for in the divorce. This paperwork needs to be filed with the proper court, usually in the county where the filing spouse resides. The next step is to have divorce papers served on your spouse. This lets your spouse know that papers have been filed at the courthouse to start the divorce process. It also lets them know what is being asked for and how much time they have to respond.
For the divorce to actually proceed, the court will need proof that your spouse was served with the petition. If you have a lawyer handling your divorce, he or she will probably take care of all this for you. If you are doing the paperwork yourself, below is a description on how to serve divorce papers, and how proof of service is obtained:
1. Acceptance of Service: The paperwork is personally delivered to your spouse, by someone over the age of 18 (and not your child). You must get your spouse to sign and date the Acceptance of Service paper to verify that the petition was actually received.
2. First Class Mail, with acknowledgement: The petition can be mailed, along with an acknowledgment form that your spouse will need to sign, date, and return. If it’s not returned by the specified period, you will need to use another method of service.
3. Certified mail, return receipt requested: Serving divorce papers this way requires that your spouse sign a paper that is attached to the envelope when he receives the petition in the mail. This “return receipt” is then mailed back to you after it is signed, and will serve as proof of service.
4. Personal Service by Sheriff or Process Server: You can hire a Sheriff or professional process server to deliver your divorce petition. A proof of service form will be filled out by the person serving the petition, which will then be filed with the court.
5. By Publication: When all other methods fail, the court will allow service to be made by publication. This involves announcing the divorce petition in a newspaper where your spouse is likely to be living for a specified amount of time. You will need to return a copy of the newspaper notice, with a statement for how long the notice ran, to the court for proof of service.
For more information on process server visit www.undisputedlegal.com or call 1.800.774.6922 for a free quote. Open Monday-Friday 8am.-8pm. “When you want it done right the first time” contact undisputedlegal.com
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