Service of your spouse, also called service of process, is an important step because from the date they are served, their deadline to respond starts counting down. When serving initial divorce papers, personal service is required, meaning someone must actually hand the papers to your spouse in person.
Alternative Service Options
Less formal types of services involving mailing can be used in other cases. In many cases, you can have a process server serve your spouse with the necessary divorce papers. You can hire a professional process server to serve your spouse or have an adult friend or family member do so, as long as they do not have an interest in the case.
Professional Process Servers
Professional process servers can work independently or with an agency and will take the original papers to be served, which are copies of the ones you filed with the court, and, using some personal information about your spouse you provide, such as their address, cars they drive and their place of work, will personally “serve” or hand your spouse with the divorce papers.
You may have to also provide a current picture of your spouse; their contact information and other pieces of information that would help the server locate your spouse.
What If Your Spouse is Evading Service?
Evading service, when someone purposefully avoids being served papers to keep the case from moving forward, can happen even in divorces and in these cases, hiring an experienced process server or having a law enforcement officer help you is highly recommended.
After service, the person who acts as the server will then fill out a Proof of Service form, which provides proof that your spouse is in receipt of those papers. This is then filed with the court as part of the case. You won’t have to serve your spouse divorce papers in every case however in many cases, this form of formal notice is required. Process of service is required any time papers are filed in court by one party. This notice is necessary in order to keep all interested parties in a case informed. In a divorce, this other interested party is your spouse and/or their attorney.
Are you in the Los Angeles area and have questions about how and what to file for your divorce? Certified Family Law Specialist Mark Karney has experience handling complex divorces in Los Angeles County. Serving Los Angeles and surrounding areas, California family law attorney Mark Karney offers efficient and tenacious legal counsel to ensure you walk away with a favorable divorce outcome.