Before you can even get into your divorce proceedings, you must first serve your spouse with divorce papers. Though this seems like a simple task, there may be outside factors that complicate this. Follow along to find out how to serve divorce papers and how one of the proficient Hudson County family law attorneys at Greenberg & Walden, LLC, can work on your behalf.
What is the purpose of serving divorce papers?
You must serve divorce papers so that your spouse is fully cognizant of your petition for a divorce. That is, your Summons and Complaint for Divorce will include your grounds for divorce and any special settlement requests you have (i.e., alimony, child support, child custody, property division, etc). By placing these divorce papers in the hands of your spouse, they will have the full opportunity to contest it if they so desire.
Who is eligible to serve divorce papers?
While you may serve your spouse with your divorce papers yourself, you may also request the services of several other authorized individuals. The state of New Jersey allows for the following individuals to serve divorce papers:
- Your attorney or your attorney’s agent.
- The county sheriff from where your spouse resides.
- An individual who is appointed by the court.
- An individual who does not have a direct interest in the service.
- A competent family member over the age of 14.
What happens after I serve divorce papers?
If you, or someone on your behalf, successfully serves divorce papers to your spouse, you will then have to file an Affidavit of Service with the New Jersey court. This is essentially a proof of service to show the court that you legally petitioned for a divorce. It should include the following items:
- The name of the person who served the divorce papers.
- The name of your spouse that was served divorce papers.
- The address of where they were served divorce papers.
- The date of when they were served divorce papers.
What happens if I am unable to serve divorce papers?
We understand that sometimes, serving divorce papers directly to your spouse can come as a challenge. For one, they may be avoidant if they do not want a divorce in the first place. When this occurs, you may be allowed to send your divorce papers to them via registered and certified mail. This mail may be sent to the following people and/or places:
- Your spouse’s home address with a requested return receipt.
- Your spouse’s home address with requested postal instructions to only deliver to them.
- Your spouse’s workplace address.
- The address of an individual who is legally authorized to accept your spouse’s service (i.e., their attorney).
For additional help, reach out to one of the talented New Jersey family law attorneys today.