Serving Divorce Papers

Once you’ve filed your initial divorce petition or summons, you might wonder how to serve your soon-to-be ex with divorce papers. It’s important that the serving of papers is verified, as a court will need this to proceed with the divorce.

How to Serve Divorce Papers

If you are already working with a divorce attorney, he or she will most likely take care of serving the divorce papers. But if you are handling all the paperwork yourself, you should know there are various ways to serve divorce papers. There are also various ways to obtain proof that your spouse has been served. Divorce papers will let your spouse know that the divorce petition has been filed, as well as inform them of what is being asked for, and how they should respond.

Various Ways of Serving Divorce Papers

Here are some ways of serving divorce papers:

Acceptance of Service: A person over the age of 18 personally delivers the paperwork to your spouse. The spouse must sign and date the Acceptance of Service paper. This verifies he or she received the paperwork.

First Class Mail, with acknowledgement: The divorce petition can be mailed. If you do this you need to add a form that your spouse will need to sign, date, and return. If this form is not returned by the specified period, you might need to look at using another method of service.

Certified mail, return receipt requested: When serving divorce papers this way your spouse signs a verification form (attached to the envelope) on reception of the petition in the mail. This “return receipt” will then be mailed back to you. This will be the way you verify the serving.

Personal Service by Sheriff or process server: You are legally able to hire a Sheriff or professional process server that will deliver the divorce petition. The Sheriff or process server then files out a proof of service form. You can file this form in court.

By Publication: If all other methods fail, the court allows services to be made via publication, meaning the divorce petition is announced in a newspaper published where your spouse is likely to have been living for a specified amount of time. For the court to get its “proof,” you will need a copy of the newspaper notice as well as a statement verifying how long the notice ran.

Work with a Divorce Attorney

Working with a divorce attorney is your best method when it comes to serving divorce papers. The experience a divorce attorney provides when it comes to this sometimes awkward and sticky process, can undoubtedly make the process easier.

Source:, How To Serve Divorce Papers, 2014

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