Do Divorce Papers Have to Be Served in Person?
The quick answer is yes, they should be. But like all rules, there are some exceptions to the rule. You can always get “alternative service” – this can be serving someone related to that person, or publishing that information of the divorce papers on Facebook or in the newspaper. You situation may be unique, so it’s best to speak with a licensed attorney in your state to discuss your circumstances.
The term “divorce” is no longer new in our society. Many marriages are faced with the issue of divorce; in fact researchers estimated that 40%-50% and 60% of all first marriages and subsequent ones respectively, will end in divorce. Marrying at a very early age (i.e. early marriage), low- educational standard and income, having affairs or leaving together before marriage, premarital pregnancy, no religious affiliation, born on the wrong side of the blanket (i.e. being born from a divorced family), also the feeling of insecurity, unrealistic expectations, abuse, lack of commitment, lack of trust etc are some of the factors that give rise to divorce.
Let us pause here and get a better understanding of some basic concepts relevant to this topic from the meaning of divorce “from the meaning of divorce according to the law to should divorce papers be served in person”.
MEANING OF DIVORCE
Divorce could simply mean the dissolution of marriage or the process of terminating a marriage. According to the law, it could mean the legal termination of a marriage by a court in a legal proceeding, requiring a petition complaint. Divorce laws vary widely from country to country, this means every country or state has its own law relating to divorcing issue.
Also it is very important to note that things change, so also divorce laws, they are not static. They are often dynamic and change reflecting growing social norms of a particular geographical location.
THINGS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED WHEN FILING A DIVORCE
When filing a divorce, there are some important things to note viz.
1. What does the divorce petition contains-information and requests.
2. Where to file divorce papers.
3. What to do after divorce papers have been served.
(i). WHAT DOES THE DIVORCE PETITION CONTAINS-INFORMATION AND REQUESTS?
Before given detailed information regarding to the content of divorce petition, it is necessary to give a brief description about “divorce petition”.
The divorce petition is a legal document that is filed in court by a spouse who seeks a divorce. In addition the “complaint” in some states, the petition informs the court of the filing spouse’s (called the “petitioner”) desire to end the marriage, and its filing with the court signifies the initiation of the divorce process. Immediately, the divorce petition action has been “served” on the petitioner’s partner, it tells or informs them that the divorce process has begun in the court.
Specific needs and formats are different in each of the places you may go, here are the needed information contained in divorce petition:
1. Identification of the spouses by name and address;
2. Date and place of marriage;
3. Identification of children of the marriage;
4. Acknowledgment that the petitioner and/or his or her spouse have lived in the state or county time prior to filing the petition;
5. Grounds or basis for divorce;
6. Declaration or request as to how the petitioner would like to settle such as debt division, property division, child custody, child support, alimony, visitation, and other issues related to divorce.
CONTENTS OF THE DIVORCE PETITION: TEMPORARY ORDERS.
In addition to the information described above, the divorce petition may ask the court to put a temporary order in place on certain family and financial issues while the divorce process is ongoing. After acceptance, these orders take effect after the finalization of the divorce process. These temporary orders may pertain to issues such as:
- Which partner is responsible for the physical and emotional welfare of the child(ren).
- Child visitation schedule for the non-custodial spouse (this is also called parent time.
- Payment of child support.
- Payment of spousal support.
- Which partner is entitled to live in the couple’s home or residence?
- Payment of bills and other financial concerns.
(ii). WHERE TO FILE DIVORCE PAPERS?
Filing a divorce and where it should be filed is very important. Virtually all matters in relation to family law, the divorce process is handled mainly at the state government level, therefore the partner looking forward to filing a divorce presents or files a divorce petition in Utah’s District Court , usually in a county or district branch of that state court.
Most often residency requirements usually vary by state, but will state where the petitioner will be filing and serving divorce papers. Take for example, California in the US demands that at least one of the divorcing spouses must have been an inhabitant or have dwelled in the state for the last six months, also in order to file in a given county (An administrative location or a definitive geographic region irrespective of direct administrative functions) , one of the spouses must have lived in that county for the couple of three months.
(iii).WHAT TO DO AFTER DIVORCE PAPER HAVE BEEN SERVED OR THE NEXT STEP TO BE FOLLOWED AFTER THE DIVORCE PAPERS HAVE BEEN SERVED?
To know the next step to be followed after divorce papers have been served is a very crucial issue. Under this section, every piece of information would be talked about, precisely and concisely explained. It is important to note that after filing divorce papers with the court, the petitioner (and their attorney or legal practitioner) makes sure that the petition is “served” (legally delivered) on the other spouse. Since every state has its own law therefore they are entitled to serving legal documents, including the different methods or modes of presentation of service that are available, so it’s compulsory that the service must be done correctly in order to achieve success and for the legal proceedings to continue.
Also it is very important to know here that the following are legally required to be served to your spouse namely:
(a.) A copy of the filed Complaint for Divorce
(b.) A copy of the Summons
(c.) A copy of the Joint Preliminary Injunction (if you filed one)
Note-You will still have the original Summons. A copy of the documents should be made and the original one kept. After the documents have been served, the original copy should be returned to the court.
Having discussed some important things relevant to our beats, it is necessary to talk about the main subject of the topic, which is “Do Divorce Papers Have to Served in Person?” Also, as stated earlier divorce laws varies from countries to countries. Reading through this write-up will provide every piece of information under the above highlighted sentence as it will provide answers to the questions; who and whom can serve and receive divorce papers, who should sign the divorce papers, the time interval one has to serve the papers, the cost of serving one spouse divorce papers, and lastly what to do when one serves divorce papers and one gets no response.
WHO CAN SERVE DIVORCE PAPERS AND TO WHOM SHOULD IT BE GIVEN TO?
One of the most frequently asked questions is about legible to serve divorce papers and whom should it be given to. Legally, the divorce papers should be served by a person who satisfies the features listed below:
Divorce papers can be served by anyone 18 or older, but usually it shouldn’t be served by you.
– It may be served by a friend.
- It can’t be served by anyone is is a family member or an “interested party”
– You could hire someone to deliver it, a professional process server or a legal practitioner.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO AFTER FILING DIVORCE PAPERS IN THE COURT?
A copy of the Summons, the Complaint and the Notice of Initial Hearing on your spouse must be well served. Every responsibility for serving your partner is borne with by you but not the court of law.
Below are three ways of legally and properly serving the divorce papers:
1. By hand delivery.
2. Through certified mail, return receipt.
3. Regular mail with defendant’s written acknowledgement.
There are also other ways the divorce papers can be served, but to start with, a permission must be obtained from the judge.
CAN THE DIVORCE PAPERS BE GIVEN TO SOMEONE OTHER THAN MY SPOUSE?
In most cases the divorce papers must be given directly to one’s spouse not to someone else. Although, there is an exception on a very rare cases. It could be given to someone of suitable age and discretion who dwells in the same home with your spouse. It is important to note here that you should be able to convince the judge that your spouse lives with this other person.
In addition, if your wife authorizes in writing someone else to accept the papers then you can go ahead to serve such a person the relevant documents.
WHERE THE DIVORCE PAPERS SHOULD BE GIVEN?
After knowing who and who is to receive the divorce papers, the next thing to note is where the divorce papers should be given. The papers can be given to your spouse anywhere that you can find your spouse viz. at home, at work, on the street, at a friend’s house, at the gas station, virtually everywhere.
WHAT IF MY SPOUSE REFUSES TO ACCEPT THE DIVORCE PAPERS?
It is advisable to keep trying. You may also want to try hand-delivery. At a point in time, after you have made efforts to serve, you may be able to request permission for service by other means. In relation to this, if the spouse seldom refuses the divorce papers it is most advisable to politely leave the divorce papers in the custody of your spouse. The judge will then decide what course of action will be taken on the issue.
THE MEANINGS OF CERTIFIED MAIL AND RETURN RECEIPT
Certified mail means a proof offered by the post office that let you know that you have mailed a letter. While on the other hand, a return receipt on the other hand means a green postcard that the post office attaches to the letter that the recipient must sign to show that he or she actually received the letter. The post office mails the green postcard back to you. The safety of the certified mail slip and the green postcard is very important as these documents are very useful.
WHO CAN MAIL THESE DIVORCE PAPERS?
The papers can be mailed by you.
WHAT ADDRESS CAN I MAIL THE PAPERS TO?
You could mail the papers to any address where you think your spouse will receive and sign for them at ease (for example, home or work etc).
HOW DOES SERVICE BY REGULAR MAIL AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WORK?
The divorce papers should be mailed by first-class mail together with:
(1) Double copies of the acknowledgement service form as well as the notice.
(2) A return envelope, postage pre-paid directed to you.
Your spouse must append her signature on the documents to make these documents valid.
WHICH WAY OF SERVING THE PAPERS IS BETTER?
All methods stated above are permissible and legal. Whichever one work better depends on your situation. You could try more than one method at a time.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO SERVE THE PAPERS?
A valid period of within 60 days is given to serve the divorce papers .If you are not able to serve these documents within that period of time, you can request for more time. You should request for more time before the 60 days ultimatum is up. If these procedures are not duly followed, your case may be dismissed and you will have to file a motion to vacate the dismissal or file a new case and start all over again.
WHAT DO I DO AFTER I HAVE SERVED THE PAPERS TO MY SPOUSE?
After following the above stated procedures from knowing who to serve the divorce papers to where and when does the service takes place, the next question is “what next step is carried out”. The next step to be followed is taken by the court of law.
Going through or reading through this course will do one a great advantage and will provide one with a keen knowledge on what divorce is, its contents and the processes involved. Besides, it is greatly advised to visit a legal practitioner as he will also help to shed more light on the above stated points for clarity.
Divorce Lawyer Free Consultation
When you need legal help with divorce in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506 for your free consultation. We want to help you.Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506