After you file for divorce, a copy of the Summons and Petition for Dissolution (and anything else you filed) must be hand-delivered to your spouse (the Respondent). This is called "service of process." It is up to you to get your spouse served. The court does not serve the papers for you.
If your spouse is not properly served, your case could get dismissed. If that happens you will have to start all over.
This is what we do, our process servers are here to help. Give us a call after you file your papers.
Your spouse must be served with the following.
Contact us to get your divorce served, we are very good at what we do and would love to help.
Your legal documents must be served within 120 days after you file the complaint. If your spouse is not served within 120 days, your divorce will be subject to dismissal and you will have to start all over.
If you cannot get your spouse served within 120 days, you can ask the Court to extend the time for service. You can Motion the following the judge to extend the time to serve. File the Motion for extension of time with the court, and submit the order to the judge for review.
Call us at any point during the life of your case to get your legal documents taken care of by a professional process server.
Judges require a licensed, professional process server to serve the documents.
CAN I SERVE THE RESPONDENT?
You can serve the documents yourself ONLY IF the Respondent is willing to waive formal service. You have to give Respondent a copy of the documents, FAMILY DEPARTMENT ACCEPTANCE OF SERVICE.
If Respondent signs the "FAMILY DEPARTMENT ACCEPTANCE OF SERVICE," Respondent will have additional time to file a response to your papers. You must file the Acceptance of Service with the court.
Your spouse must be personally served with a copy of the documents. This means a process server must hand-deliver the documents to the Respondent in person. Your spouse can be served anywhere – at home, at work, etc.
When we serve the Respondent, we must complete an Affidavit of Service stating when, where and what documents were served on the Respondent.
We file the affidavit with the court to show that your spouse was properly served.
You must do everything you can to locate your spouse and have them served in person. However, if Respondent is evading service or cannot be found, you have two options:
IF WE CAN CONTACT THE RESPONDENT BUT DON'T HAVE AN ADDRESS, REQUEST ALTERNATIVE SERVICE You can ask the judge for permission to serve by alternate means. This could mean sending the documents by posting, leaving with a co-worker, email, by social media, by texting the documents, etc.
If the judge allows you to serve by alternate service, we will have to send the documents through every method the judge identifies on the order.
IF YOU CANNOT FIND THE RESPONDENT AT ALL, REQUEST PUBLICATION
If you have no contact at all with the Respondent and don't know where to find him/her, the judge expects you to do everything possible to try and find them. We can preform a skip-trace/person locator in addition to contacting friends, family members, employers, coworkers, or anyone who might know where to find Respondent. Search for your spouse online through social networking sites and by email. We can also check the Post Office for forwarding information. Check with any source that might lead you to a good address for your spouse. This is called doing your “due diligence.”
The judge will want to see you tried as many avenues as possible to find the Respondent.
If we still cannot find your spouse, you can ask the Court for permission to publish the divorce in a newspaper instead. We may also have to mail the documents to a last known address if you have one. We will have to detail all of the efforts we made to find your spouse. We can assist you in the publication of your papers.
Whichever avenue your service takes you, we're here to help every step of the way.