The whole divorce process is kind of a headache, but hopefully we can alleviate some of the pain by providing you with helpful information. Today, we are going to delve into the mysterious business of serving divorce papers and how it works.
Can I Serve My Spouse?
Most people think they can serve their spouse with divorce papers by simply handing them over. However, there are legal guidelines that must be observed when serving legal documents to proceed with the divorce. Because you are an "interested party" (meaning you are directly involved in the case), you cannot be involved in serving the divorce papers.
Luckily, there are a few other ways to serve the divorce papers without having to pay someone to do so, or by paying a minimal cost.
Served By Mail
One of the most common ways to service your spouse is by mail, which usually doesn't cost more than a few dollars. Service by mail is very simple, but to do this you have to include an affidavit of service in the divorce papers. The affidavit is named different things, and sometimes is included in various forms within the divorce forms. The served spouse must sign the affidavit of service, which verifies the spouse was served with the papers by mail.
Mail the divorce papers via first-class U.S. mail with a return receipt. If you ask the post office for a return receipt they will put a slip on the envelope, which must be signed by the recipient upon delivery. Then, the signed receipt of delivery is sent to your address for you records. Keep the return receipt for your paperwork as proof that your spouse received and was essentially served with the divorce papers.
Served By Third Party
Another common, yet free way to service your spouse is by a third party. A third party is basically anyone other than you, your spouse, and any child or person not immediately involved in the divorce proceedings. A third party can be a friend, relative, or neighbor.
The third party must, however, be over 18 years old and must sign the affidavit of service document as well. In some states it is required by law that the third party sign the affidavit in front of a notary public. This option only requires payment for the notary public, which varies from each notary.
Served By Official Service Officer
If neither of these options is agreeable with you, it is possible to hire a service officer to serve your spouse with the papers. A sheriff can be contracted to deliver the divorce papers to your spouse, or you can hire a professional process server.
The official server will know exactly how to complete the little paperwork required from them, like signing the affidavit of service. This option is pricier than the other two, but it is recommended in contested divorce cases where the spouse is trying to delay the divorce by avoiding being served with the divorce papers. A process server can cost anywhere from $30 to $100.
Can I Serve My Spouse With an Online Divorce Company?
With the MyDivorceDocuments.com online divorce forms service, you are able to decide how to serve your spouse, and are provided with all the necessary paperwork to legally prove your spouse was served. However, you must provide your spouse with the divorce papers, either by mail, third party, or process server.