How To Serve Your Spouse During A Divorce

Let's Untie the Knot | How To Serve Your Spouse During A Divorce

In every state, the spouse asking for a divorce is required to file a petition (or complaint) with the local court and complete “service of process,” by making sure the responding spouse receives copies of the divorce paperwork.  It is essential to provide your spouse with notice of the divorce.  If you fail to do so, the court cannot issue any orders and can ultimately dismiss your case.  In Oregon, if you file as a sole-petitioner you must serve your spouse with copies of the divorce petition and all other papers filed with the court.  Oregon allows the non-filing spouse to waive the “service of process” requirement by signing an Acceptance of Service form.  This form provides that the spouse received the documents.  The filing spouse is responsible for submitting the signed acceptance with the court.  If your ex refuses to sign the acceptance form, you can achieve service by having a third party serve the divorce papers on your spouse.  Anyone over 18 can technically serve the papers, but many people choose to hire a private process server or pay a fee to the sheriff to deliver the documents in person.  In situations where the spouse is hard to locate, the court may allow the filing party to publish a notice in the newspaper to inform the other spouse about the divorce.  This is called “Divorce by Publication” and is only available when the respondent’s whereabouts are unknown.   To use the “divorce by publication” method, you will have to show the judge that you tried in many ways to serve your spouse.