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How To Serve Divorce Papers

  • August 04, 2011
  • by ServeNow Staff

divorceThe initial stages of filing for divorce can be an emotional and conflicted time. During this period of change a process server can take the frustration of initiating the dissolution of marriage out of your hands.

What paperwork is involved to initiate a divorce?

A divorce petition, or dissolution petition, is the initial paperwork filed and served to begin the divorce process. This petition, also known as a summons, outlines the marriage, defines what is being asked for in the divorce, and states the reason a divorce is being sought.  

Depending on the state in which the divorce is filed the petition typically includes a marriage license, birth certificates of spouses and children, if any, and financial statements including tax returns, investment and bank statements, and property and vehicle registrations.  

In some cases, the divorce petition will also include temporary court orders that dictate who will reside in the primary residence, outline financial concerns and payments, and detail custody of any children along with any associated child or spousal support to be paid.

How do I serve divorce paperwork?

Process serving laws vary state to state, but most commonly, papers should be served by someone who is 18 years or older and not a party to the case. However, some states require process servers to be licensed, so it is best to review your state's rules and regulations. Personal service is typically the best way to serve divorce papers as a process server can provide proof that the papers were served with affidavits.

Sometimes, particularly for difficult serves, mailing the legal paperwork with certified mail can constitute an effective service of process. However, mailing paperwork requires a return of acknowledgment. This may be difficult to get should the receiving spouse be attempting to avoid divorce. In most cases, a professional process server provides the best chance of accurate and fast service since they often deal with evasive and difficult individuals firsthand.

Why do you need to get divorce papers served?

In order to initiate the divorce process, your spouse must be notified of divorce proceedings by law, and therefore be served the divorce petition. However, because the person filing for divorce and all relatives are prohibited from serving the petition, you can trust a professional process server to handle your papers.

Why hire a process server to serve divorce papers?

With strict guidelines that vary from state to state and very limited options for having your divorce petition served, a process server can save you time, frustration, and conflict in initiating the legal process. Unlike other options that rely on your spouse’s signature and willingness to comply, a process server ensures a quick delivery and will file an Affidavit of Service with the court. The affidavit is an official and notarized testimony detailing the date, time, and manner in which the document was served.  

Process servers are also trained in handling situations where the person being served may be disgruntled, uncooperative, or difficult to locate, and have experience serving papers in which sensitive matters including finances, assets, and children are involved.  

With the legal process relying on your petition being served, trusting your paperwork in the hands of a professional process server is the fastest and easiest way to begin the legal divorce process.

How to find a trusted local process server is a trusted network of local, pre-screened process servers. To find a professional process server, please visit or call (877) 737-8366.

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