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Best Ways to Serve Your Spouse Divorce Papers

by | Dec 1, 2020 | Divorce Long Island, NY

When you file for a divorce, your soon-to-be ex-spouse must be legally served with your divorce papers or petition. There are several ways to server your spouse. Read on to learn some of the most effective ways to have your spouse served and how to get help navigating your divorce from an experienced divorce lawyer or and family law attorney.


Hand Delivery to an Adult in Your Spouse’s Home

The most common way to have someone served with divorce papers is to hand-deliver them to another person they live with. This cannot be a friend or family member outside the home; you must serve someone who you can prove lives at the same residence as the person you are serving. You may not hand-deliver divorce papers directly to your spouse yourself. Instead, you must either hand them to another adult who lives with your spouse or have someone other than yourself serve your spouse.

Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested

You may mail the divorce papers to your spouse, however, you must typically send them via Certified Mail with return receipt requested. This allows you to track the papers to your spouse’s residence and enables you to receive a notification and a copy of the recipient’s signature when they sign for the documents. If your spouse isn’t home, Certified Mail will not be left at the residence. Instead, the post office will likely make another delivery attempt or hold the documents and require your spouse to come to the office to sign and receive the papers.

Signature verification can be extremely valuable if your ex later contests the divorce and attempts to say that they didn’t receive the divorce papers. You’ll be able to show evidence of their signature or the signature of someone who lives with them to prove that they did, in fact, receive the papers.

By a Process Server

If you think your spouse will be difficult to serve (e.g., they cannot be easily located at their last known address), you may want to consider hiring a professional process server. A process server has extensive experience locating individuals to serve legal documents to and will go to great lengths to ensure that your spouse is properly served, even if they are purposely evading service.

Alternative Ways to Serve Your Spouse Divorce Papers on Long Island

There are a few other ways that you can serve your spouse with divorce papers under New York law if the above methods prove unsuccessful. Here are three alternatives to using a process server or hand-delivering or mailing the divorce papers to your spouse.

Via Regular Mail After Obtaining Written Acknowledgement From Your Spouse

If you receive written communication from your spouse that he or she agrees to the divorce papers being sent via regular mail, you can do so. This is generally because once written communication has been received, it’s difficult — if not impossible — for your spouse to then claim no knowledge of the divorce.

To Someone Else With Written Authorization

If you wish to serve someone else other than an adult your spouse resides with, you must also receive written authorization before doing so. However, there are no restrictions on who you can have served if your spouse has given authorization in writing, with the exception of minors who aren’t of the appropriate age to be responsible for transferring the divorce papers to your spouse.

A Newspaper Notification

If all other methods of service fail, you may be granted the right to publish a public notice in your area’s local newspaper notifying your spouse of the upcoming divorce by a judge. If your spouse doesn’t respond in an appropriate, predetermined amount of time to contest the divorce, you may be granted a divorce by default. This usually means since your spouse isn’t present to contest the divorce or any of your requests, such as child custody, child support or property division, that you’ll be awarded most, if not all of said requests.

Get Help Serving Your Spouse with Divorce Papers from an Experienced Divorce Lawyer and Family Law Attorney Today

Ensuring that your spouse is properly served after you file for a divorce is critical to proceed with your case in a timely fashion. It’s also crucial in the event that your spouse doesn’t respond and you need to prove that you made every effort to serve them. Get help from an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer today by contacting Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. at 631-923-1910.



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