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HOW TO SERVE DIVORCE PAPERS

After you’ve made up your mind to get a divorce, you might be wondering how to serve divorce papers on your husband or wife.  

To start with, the initial paperwork is called a summons or divorce petition and it details all the important information about your marriage and what is being sought in the divorce.  The petition should also include:
  • your marriage license
  • birth certificates of you, your spouse and any children
  • tax returns
  • bank and investment statements
  • property
  • vehicle registrations

This paperwork needs to be filed with the proper court, usually in the county where the filing spouse lives.

The next step is to have divorce papers served on your spouse. This lets your spouse know that paperwork has been submitted at the court house to start the divorce procedure.  It additionally lets them know:

  • what is being asked for
  • how much time they have to reply
  • who will reside in the primary residence
  • who will have custody of any children
  • what amount of child support is to be paid

For the divorce to actually advance, the court will need confirmation that your spouse was served with the petition.

If you have an attorney taking care of your divorce, they will most likely handle all this for you. If you are working on the paperwork on your own, here is a summary of options for serving divorce papers and how you will obtain proof of service:

  1. Certified Mail, return receipt requested: Serving divorce papers by certified mail requires that your spouse sign a paper that is attached to the envelope when they receive the petition.  This must be done by the clerks office when you file the documents.   This “return receipt” is then mailed back to the court after it is signed, and represents proof of service as long as the individual signs for it personally.  It will not be valid if someone else at the residence signs for it.
  2. Registered Process Server: Hiring a licensed process server is by the fastest, safest way of serving divorce papers, and can save you time, conflicts and frustration. Instead of relying on your spouse’s signature and compliance, a process server files a notarized affidavit of service with the court so your divorce process can move forward immediately.
  3. By Publication: When all other options fall short, the court will permit service to be performed by publication. This involves publicizing the divorce petition in a newspaper where your spouse is expected to be living for an adequate length of time. You will have to return a copy of the newspaper notice, with a declaration for how long the notice ran, to the court for proof of service.

You’re obviously going through a challenging time so give yourself peace of mind and hire a professional.

Process servers are trained to handle unhappy, uncooperative and hard to find defendants and have the experience to be tactful in sensitive situations like when children or other family members are around or your spouse is at work.

You have 60 days from the day you file your divorce papers and your divorce process can only move forward once your petition is served.

Don’t rely on amateurs or put one of your loved ones at risk. 

Call JPL Process Service at (866) 754-0520 and one of our professional process servers will put your divorce petition directly in the hands of your spouse — at home, at work, one the street or anywhere we can find them – usually within 48 hours of your request.

If you have a question about your divorce procedure.  You should definitely contact your attorney.  If you have questions about your divorce papers, contact us below or leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help you out.

 

Jeff Lancaster
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Jeff Lancaster

Registered Process Server at JPL Process Service
JPL Process Service is a trusted process service partner to 100's of law firms throughout Southern California. Call us at (866) 754-0520 to see why or click to order online here.
Jeff Lancaster
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