Filing for a divorce is the first step in the process, but there are many other requirements that must be met in order for things to proceed as they should. For instance, you will need to serve your spouse with the divorce petition. This alone may leave you with questions. Here, we will talk more about how to accomplish service of process on your spouse in order to move to the next step in the divorce process.
Florida Service of Process for Divorce
To properly serve divorce papers on your spouse, both a copy of the summons and the petition for divorce must be delivered to them. Not just anyone can serve your spouse. You, the petitioner in the divorce action, must take a copy of the summons and divorce petition to your local county sheriff’s office or, alternatively, a certified process server. The server must be at least 18 years old and have no interest in the action. Furthermore, the server must be a Florida permanent resident, pass a background check, and have no mental or legal disability. Process servers must pass an examination regarding the rules and laws of service of process as well as take an oath to “honestly, diligently, and faithfully exercise the duties of a special process server.”
The paperwork you provide to your process server will include information about your spouse’s, the respondent’s, whereabouts so that they can be personally served. The process must be promptly served and, most often, they are delivered to the respondent’s residence. Service cannot be accomplished on a Sunday and any service rendered on a Sunday would be considered void. If the respondent lives in another state, the rules of service of process in that state must be followed. Should the respondent try to elude service, the process server may be permitted to leave the papers at their residence in their home mailbox or with a reasonable person who is at least 15 years of age. Once service has been accomplished, the process server fills out a return-of-service form showing the time and date of service as well as the manner of service and the name of the person who was served.
In some cases, the process server may not be able to find the respondent. In such cases, do not despair. You can still pursue a divorce and may be eligible for a divorce by publication. To get permission for this, the process server needs to file an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry which will detail ways the process server tried to find and serve the respondent. The completion and filing of the affidavit is the first step to obtaining constructive service of process in order to begin divorce proceedings without the respondent. You may then be permitted to serve process through publishing notice of the divorce proceedings in a local paper in the area where the respondent spouse was last known to live.
Florida Family Law Attorneys
Properly serving divorce paperwork can, in and of itself, be taxing and complicated. This is just the tip of the iceberg in the divorce process. Get trusted legal help at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou to help you through this. Contact us today.