How Does Serving Divorce Papers Work?

gavelWhen you decide to file for divorce, there are a number of steps you must take. Some people mistakenly believe that all they have to do is file the paperwork and that’s it, but that’s not the case. Divorce papers must be served to the other spouse. It is important to know how the papers can be served and who can deliver the papers to the spouse. At Chung & Ignacio, our Rancho Cucamonga divorce attorneys break down some of the ways you can serve your spouse and what to do if papers cannot be delivered.

Serving Papers

In California, the spouse who is filing is unable to serve the papers to the other spouse his or herself. Instead, they must use some other method, such as a third party. This can include a sheriff or private process server who can take the papers to the spouse. It can also be someone who is not part of the case and is over the age of 18 years old such as a family friend, a relative, or a co-worker. The server must be over the age of 18, serve the papers before the deadline, fill out the proof of service, and return the proof of service.

Another options is service by mail. This means someone who is not a party in the case can mail the other party the documents. The mail can be sent to the other spouse’s home or mailing address, such as a business. The server would then need to complete the Proof of Service listing the name of the person, the address, the date mailed, the mailing method, and from where the papers were sent. Mail service is complete 5 days after the date the papers were sent.

What If My Spouse Doesn’t Receive the Divorce Papers?

Unfortunately, there are times when the spouse who is to receive the divorce papers doesn’t respond or refuses to sign, which makes things more difficult. It is important to know, however, that the spouse cannot prevent the divorce. Your spouse has 30 days from the day they are served to respond to the divorce papers.

If your spouse refuses or fails to respond, you can request a default judgement at the end of the 30 days. This can be a difficult process as well because you must submit forms regarding custody, child support, property division, alimony, and more.

If you are considering filing for divorce, it is important to seek the advice of a skilled legal representative who can help you navigate the complex matters. At Chung & Ignacio, we have the necessary experience to guide you through the divorce process with your best interests in mind at all times. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and discuss your case. We can explain your rights and options, as well as help you file for divorce and serve the papers to your spouse.

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