How To Serve Divorce Papers – Forbes Advisor

There are a number of different possible ways you could serve divorce papers, with the specific requirements for service varying by state. Here are some options.

Waiver of Service

If your spouse is on board with the divorce and you are moving forward together with an uncontested divorce, they may be able to waive service of process. This means they give up the right to have the court papers formally delivered to them.

You and your spouse could file a  waiver of service or waiver of citation with the court when the spouse who is not filing for divorce is willing to cooperate with this process.

Service by a Disinterested Party

If your spouse must be served with the divorce papers because they don’t want to waive service or aren’t allowed to under your state’s laws, then someone must hand them the papers.  There are different rules for who must do that.

In some cases, anyone who is over 18, who is a resident of the state and who is a disinterested party with no vested stake in the divorce can serve papers. In other situations, there are specific guidelines as to what types of professionals can provide service of process.

Service by the Sheriff

It’s usually possible to pay for a sheriff to serve your spouse with divorce papers.

While there is a financial cost to this approach, it has some benefits. A sheriff is familiar with the requirements including how to certify service has taken place. And they will likely be better equipped to understand how to find and serve the defendant than someone without law enforcement training.

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