How can I legally serve divorce papers? 37 Answers as of August 24, 2011

I want to get a divorce, but my spouse is refusing to go through with it. Is there a legal way to serve the divorce papers without his consent?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
Anyone competent and over the age of 18 (not you) can serve the papers on him.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/24/2011
The English Law Firm
The English Law Firm | Robert English
Any person over the age of 18 that is not a party can serve the papers.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/12/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Yes, have your lawyer ask for citation, get it issued and serve on your husband through a process server or constable.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/11/2011
Advanced Litigation Services
Advanced Litigation Services | Joseph Iarussi
Yes, by hiring a process server to serve the papers on him.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/10/2011
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
A common misconception is that something "must be signed" regarding divorce papers. In short, a complaint for divorce must be lodged with your local family court, then service is controlled by rule of court and it is specified that a "disinterested person of competent age" may perform service of process. As you are not a "disinterested" party being the litigant, service must be performed by someone else - usually a constable. If you can afford a private lawyer, seek one you like. If you cannot afford private counsel, seek the assitance of your local legal services organization.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 8/9/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    Your spouse can be served by a Sheriff's deputy to get the case started.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
    The divorce papers should be served on your spouse by the Sheriff's office of whatever county you reside. Once he is served, he will have 20 days to file a written response with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You can request that service be accomplished by the local county sheriff's office or by a private process server. Private process servers can be found in the yellow pages or online. Both you and your spouse need to understand that "service" is simply a means of guaranteeing that the other party has "notice" of the legal proceedings. If is required in every judicial proceedings and it has nothing to do with "consent" to the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    An adult resident of Oregon who is not related to you can serve copies of the pleadings by delivering them to your wife.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    In Alabama, the method of In-State Service is provided in Rule 4.1 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. If the method must be by publication Rule 4.3 applies. Service may be made by a process server or by certified mail. Upon filing the complaint with the Court Clerk's office you will be asked how you wish to serve the complaint. Unless otherwise requested or permitted by the rule, service will be by a process server (usually a sheriff's deputy). You may also name an individual to name a process server and if he or she meets the age and capacity requirements, then they may serve the papers. If their is a failure of service or the whereabouts of the person served is unknown then the server may make endorsement of the fact and service may be made by publication. Since many details are involved please contact a licensed attorney or review the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    The best way to serve your spouse with divorce papers is to hire a professional process server to do it. If there is ever a question about whether the service was done properly, the court is less likely to be suspicious of a professional that some unknown. The second choice is to have a friend who is not a party to the action do the service. That person would have to properly complete and file a declaration of service. If you are asking if you can personally to the serving, the answer is "no." No one who is a party to an action can do "service" in the action.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    You can have a process server serve them to him. And there are other technical legal maneuvers which can achieve successful service, Please discuss this issue with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    he does not have to consent to serve him.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    He doesn't have to consent. You can just have a process server serve him and he must reply or you can take a default against him. You need a family law firm to help you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    A petition for divorce would be filed in the Clerk's Office in the county in which you live. The petition would be served on your spouse by either a private process server or a sheriff's deputy. Then in 30 days if the spouse has not answered by filing in the Clerk's Office the Court can set a hearing for the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend you consult with and retain your own divorce lawyer who will know how to get him served, either by a deputy or a certified process server. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    Usually, it is without consent. A marshal will serve him and he doesn't have to sign for the papers.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    We can serve him through the sheriff or private process server. If he doesn't comply after being served we can still move forward with the divorce without him.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    You do not need your spouse's consent to a divorce. If the sheriff is unsuccessful in serving your spouse, you may file a motion for the court to allow you to hire a private process server to track him/her down and serve him.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Anyone besides you, who is competent, can hand him the documents and attest to that fact.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Law Office of Aubrey Srednicki
    Law Office of Aubrey Srednicki | Aubrey Srednicki
    The following is a link from the Maricopa County Superior Court website regarding service of process: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/Forms/FamilyCourt/fc_gn2.asp
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    The best way to ensure proper service is personal service. The person serving the papers must be over the age of 18 and not a party to the action. Best solution is securing a professional process server to correctly serve your spouse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    you do not need your spouses consent to serve him
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    You don't need your spouse's consent to proceed with the divorce - once you have filed, you can have the papers delivered to him by a private process server. This will "start the clock" on the divorce, and although he can make the process difficult and unpleasant, he cannot prevent you from divorcing him.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    Yes, drop the papers within his vicinity. Has to be someone besides you over 18.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Although there are multiple ways, allow me to suggest using a private constable to hand the documents to him and then fill out an Affidavit of Service that you can file with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Papers may be served by any person who is not party to the case and is of adult age. They would then complete an Affidavit of Service which is filed with the Pleadings in Court.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Bagwell Holt Smith Jones & Crowson, P.A.
    Bagwell Holt Smith Jones & Crowson, P.A. | John G. Miskey IV
    You can serve by sheriff, certified mail, publication and in some circumstances, private process server.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Yes. hire a process server, and he/she can serve your spouse. You can find a process server by doing a Google search in your local area, or look on craigslist in the legal section.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Yes, you can file your case and have the sheriff serve him; you don't need his consent or signature. I strongly recommend, unless you know how to properly draft and file the papers, have him served, go through mediation, understand all of the law regarding a divorce situation, know the rules of evidence and how to present your case in court, that you hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    No divorce should be done without a lawyer. One where the other side won't sign is contested and that makes a lawyer even more necessary. Depending on details you omitted the lawyer may use the sheriff or a private process server.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    You need to get a process server. We can help you find a process server.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Edward Papa, Esq.
    Edward Papa, Esq. | Edward Papa
    You can have an adult friend or family member serve him or use a process server. The process server will make multiple attempts and file the affidavit of service for a reasonable fee. I would like to stress that while it is possible to proceed without an attorney it is not the best option.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Yes; it is called "default." All of this would be pretty simple for competent counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/6/2011
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