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Do I need to serve my spouse our divorce papers?

Filing for divorce can be a difficult process, and even simply serving the divorce papers can be an awkward and painful ordeal. In New Jersey, divorce papers are typically served by a sheriff or process server. If you are going through a divorce and need legal help, contact our Ocean County Contested Divorce Attorney today!

How do I serve divorce papers?

Divorce papers, also known as divorce petitions or complaints, are the legal documents filed in court by the spouse who seeks divorce. Serving divorce papers is required for all divorces in New Jersey. While some states allow spouses on good terms to file divorce papers jointly, this is not allowed in New Jersey. Divorce papers must be served formally unless your spouse signs an acknowledgment or waiver of service. This is a form that confirms that they received the divorce papers from you personally or through a third party. In general, serving divorce papers marks the beginning of the legal divorce process.

Do I need to hire a process server?

Many divorcees in New Jersey choose to have a sheriff or process server formally hand-deliver the papers. In these cases, you must pay a fee to the sheriff or process server who serves your spouse. You may also opt to serve the papers personally or through an attorney, but this is only possible if your spouse signs an Acknowledgment of Service. Those who hire a lawyer to represent them throughout the divorce can rely on their attorney to handle legal paperwork, including the divorce petition.

What if I can’t find my spouse?

In the event that these papers cannot be delivered in person, you may be able to notify your spouse through a substituted method. This is only allowed through court approval after proving that you made multiple diligent attempts to reach your spouse at their home, workplace, or other places they are likely to be found. One possible alternative is called service through publication, where you can inform your spouse by publishing the divorce notice in the local newspaper or posting the notice at a public place. Some other states allow serving these papers through the mail, but traditionally New Jersey requires the documents to be served in person. In recent years with the rise of social media, some courts have allowed divorcees to inform their spouse virtually, but this exception varies from case to case. The divorce process can be complicated, but the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC is here to help! Contact us today to discuss legal options.