After you have decided to get a divorce, you may wonder how to serve divorce papers on your spouse. To begin the divorce process, the initial paperwork is called a divorce petition or divorce summons. This document outlines all the crucial information about your marriage and the divorce terms, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and division of marital property. You must file papers with the right family law court, usually in the county where the filing spouse lives.
Next, you must serve divorce papers to your spouse in person. This allows your spouse to know that divorce papers have been filed at the court to start the divorce process. It also lets them of what is being asked for and how much time they have to respond.
For the divorce process to proceed, the family court judge will need proof that your spouse was served with the divorce petition. Filing motions and attempting to serve someone with divorce papers is not only challenging, but it also takes time and emotional energy that you don’t have. By having an experienced Colorado Springs divorce attorney handle this difficult legal process, you’ll know it’s being done right. The experienced family law attorneys at Brighter Day℠ Law are divorce experts. Contact our Colorado Springs law office today at (719) 225-4443 to learn how we can help you.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Divorce Papers?
If you have a family law lawyer handling your divorce, he or she will perhaps take care of the service of divorce papers. However, if you’re handling the divorce papers yourself, here’s a description of how to serve your spouse with divorce papers, and how to get proof of service:
Acceptance of Service
A person who is over the age of 18 should hand-deliver the divorce papers to your spouse. Your spouse must sign the Acceptance of Service paper as proof that he or she received the divorce petition.
First Class Mail Service
Here, the divorce petition is mailed alongside an acknowledgment form your spouse needs to sign, date, and return. If this paperwork isn’t returned by the specified period, you’ll have to use another method of service.
Certified Mail Service
If you choose to service divorce papers this way, your spouse must sign a paper that’s attached to the envelope when he or she receives the divorce petition in the mail. Also, your spouse must mail back the “return receipt” to you after signing it, which serves as proof of service.
Personal Service by Sheriff or Private Process Server
Also, you can hire a private process server or Sheriff to deliver your divorce petition. Here, the person serving the divorce petition will fill out the proof of service form, which needs also to be filed with the court.
Service by Publication
If all other methods of service fail, the family law court can allow for service by publication. Here, you’ll announce the divorce petition in a newspaper published in the county where your spouse lives. Don’t forget to return a copy of the newspaper notice, together with a statement for how long the newspaper notice ran, to the family law court for proof of service.
How Do I Serve My Husband with Divorce Papers?
You must serve your husband personally with a copy of the divorce papers. This means someone neutral and not involved in your divorce case must hand-deliver the divorce documents to your husband in person. The server can serve your husband anywhere – at work, or home.
The person who serves your husband must complete an Affidavit of Service stating when, where and what divorce documents the defendant was served with. If you use a private process server or the Sheriff, they might have their own form to fill as proof of service.
Can a Husband Serve His Wife Divorce Papers?
There are many options for serving divorce papers. However, neither you, your children, someone involved in the divorce case can serve your divorce papers. Often, mailing the legal documents with certified mail is an effective service of process. However, mailing divorce papers requires a return of acknowledgment. This might be difficult to get, especially if your wife is avoiding divorce.
Often, a professional process server offers the best chance of valid service because they often deal with difficult and evasive individuals firsthand. Also, they’re familiar with all the laws on service. Thus, they’re more likely to get service done properly.
Even if a divorce is uncontested and civil, it’s wise to hire a professional to handle the service process.
Make sure you find a process server from the county where your spouse lives, not your own county. To prove that the service was done successfully, a process server needs to fill out an affidavit of service. This document is an official and notarized testimony, which details the date, time, and how the divorce paperwork was served. Later, you need to file the affidavit with the family law court and your spouse will be deemed served effectively.
Also, it’s essential to coordinate with the server when they’re attempting to serve your wife because you can’t be present when the divorce papers are served.
How to Serve Divorce Papers When Your Spouse is Evasive or Can’t be Located
This is another instance where a professional process server can be useful. Process servers are trained to find and serve people who don’t want to be served. However, it’s essential to note this may last longer and cost more depending on the server. If a process server can’t serve your spouse after three well-documented attempts, file a motion requesting substituted service with the court.
If it’s impossible to serve divorce papers to your spouse, there are other actions you can take. Inform the family court judge of your situation and they may provide solutions such as:
- Electronic delivery
- Public notification, and
- Service by mail (certified or first-class, with tracking or acknowledgment)
Servers commonly use public notification to “serve” spouses that refuse or evade service. However, before using any of the above methods, you must ask a family court judge for permission.
If the professional server makes numerous attempts to serve divorce papers and can’t serve your spouse, or if you’re unable to track your spouse’s mailing address after making genuine efforts, ask the judge for permission to complete the service using alternative methods. You can do this by filing a Motion and Verification for Alternate Service.
If the court allows alternate service, the family court judge will sign an Order for Alternate Service. Then follow the judge’s directions for serving the divorce papers.
If you have to serve your spouse by alternative service, hire a skilled divorce attorney to help you with your divorce. To get your divorce, proper service is vital.
What Happens if My Husband Doesn’t Respond to Divorce Papers?
Have an experienced family law lawyer review your decree of dissolution of marriage before you submit it to court. A family law attorney can protect your rights after divorce, and answer any questions or concerns you may have. If one spouse refuses to take part in a divorce, the divorce process can drag on longer than in a traditional, uncontested divorce. Your husband may decide to get involved in the divorce process at any time and disagree with your divorce terms, which can result in a contested divorce, which requires mediation and trials to agree.
It’s difficult to tell how long a contested divorce case may take. If your husband continues to refuse involvement, the family court judge will sign off on your decree and your divorce will be finalized.
In all 50 states, including Colorado, you can file for no-fault divorce. Here, the courts won’t consider fault when determining the division of marital property, assigning child custody, or determine spousal support payments. Instead, family court judges will decide based on the best interests of any children involved and financial matters. Filing for a no-fault divorce could persuade a reluctant spouse to agree to the divorce. It’s wise to always discuss your legal options with an experienced attorney before deciding how to file for divorce.
Contact Our Experienced Colorado Springs Divorce Attorneys Today For Legal Advice!
Service of process is a key step in divorce cases. However, it’s often daunting to serve the respondent. Often, the defendant doesn’t want to accept service, you might not even have their phone number or their legal address.
Often, you may need to ask the court for an alternative method of service. These situations can be very frustrating. If you’re having problems serving or responding to court papers, an experienced divorce attorney can help. Without a divorce lawyer by your side, it’s challenging to navigate through the divorce process.
At Brighter Day℠ Law, our family law attorneys have extensive experience in family law issues. We’re well-versed in the legal process, and we provide complex legal services. Thus, we can give you the legal advice you need to make process service easier and divorce proceedings simple. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our family law firm today at (719) 225-4443, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.