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Requirements for Serving Legal Documents in a Divorce

Requirements for Serving Divorce Papers

Under most circumstances, the party that is filing the divorce documents can’t be the person who serves those documents. Disallowing the party from being the server increases the chances that delivery of those documents was consistent with law as well as to ensure that a party doesn’t attempt to deceive the court into believing they served required documents on the other party…when they didn’t…thus resulting in serious consequences to the party who was in fact, not served. This is where a server or process server comes in. 

In most jurisdictions, a process server must:

  1. Be 18 years or older;
  2. Not be a party to the case/action;
  3. Serve the documents to the designated party within the required time; and
  4. Complete a Proof of Service and return it to the party serving the documents or file it with the court.

As stated above, the party can’t be the process server, thus may rely on the following to complete the service of process:

  1. Anyone 18 years or older (that has nothing to do with the case)
  2. Friend, relative, or coworker (that has nothing to do with the case)
  3. County sheriff or marshal
  4. Professional process server

Tip: When using a professional process server for divorce, it is helpful to provide them with a photo of the person that is being served. When possible, it can also be helpful to provide them with other information that may increase their chances of successful service (e.g., schedules, locations). Also, try to use a process server that is in the area where the documents will be served, as fees for service may be tied to time and travel required to serve the documents.