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Serving Divorce Papers: Everything You Need to Know

Serving divorce papers
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Serving Divorce Papers: What You Need to Know

Divorce is a difficult process for everyone involved, and it can be even more complicated if one spouse refuses to accept the papers. Knowing the process of serving divorce papers is essential to ensure the process is done correctly and legally. This article will explain the steps you need to take to serve divorce papers to your spouse, as well as what to do if your spouse refuses to accept the papers.

What Are Divorce Papers?

Divorce papers are the legal documents that are filed with the court to begin the process of ending a marriage. These documents include the petition for divorce, which is the document that initiates the divorce proceedings, and the summons, which is the document that notifies the other spouse that the divorce process has begun. The petition and summons must be served to the other spouse in order for the divorce proceedings to move forward.

Who Can Serve Divorce Papers?

In most states, divorce papers can be served by anyone who is 18 years of age or older and is not a party to the divorce. This means that a friend, family member, or professional process server can serve the papers. It is important to note that the person who serves the papers must be able to prove that they served the papers, so it is best to use a professional process server if possible.

How Are Divorce Papers Served?

Divorce papers must be served in person, and the person who serves the papers must provide the other spouse with a copy of the petition and summons. The process server must also provide proof that the papers were served, such as an affidavit of service. In some states, the process server may be required to provide the other spouse with a copy of the divorce papers in advance, so it is important to check the laws in your state.

What Happens If My Spouse Refuses to Accept the Papers?

If your spouse refuses to accept the papers, the process server can leave the papers with another adult who lives in the same household as your spouse. This is known as “substituted service.” In some states, the process server can also mail the papers to your spouse’s last known address. It is important to note that if your spouse refuses to accept the papers, the divorce proceedings can still move forward, but it may take longer for the process to be completed.

What Happens After the Papers Are Served?

Once the papers are served, your spouse has a certain amount of time to respond to the petition. This time frame varies from state to state, but it is typically between 20 and 30 days. If your spouse does not respond within the allotted time frame, the court may grant a default judgment, which means that the divorce will proceed without your spouse’s input.

Conclusion

Serving divorce papers is an important step in the divorce process, and it is important to make sure the process is done correctly and legally. Knowing the steps you need to take to serve divorce papers, as well as what to do if your spouse refuses to accept the papers, can help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

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