Going through a divorce is not always easy, but it can be less stressful if you know how to serve your spouse with divorce papers the right way. This will reduce confusion and problems and can make the divorce process faster and smoother. Texas has specific rules about how someone has to be served divorce papers, and you will want to make sure you know and follow those rules so that there are no problems down the line. Here is the proper way to serve your spouse with divorce papers in Texas:
The Citation, Petition, and Applicable Forms Must Be Completed and Included
The initial paperwork includes the citation, divorce petition, and any forms that you have filled out as a part of your petition. Sometimes there will be other forms, and sometimes there won’t be. It can depend on whether there are children involved, if there are disputes over property, or if there are other extenuating circumstances that will need to be considered during your divorce proceedings. A divorce attorney can advise you of the best way to make sure all this paperwork and all applicable forms are included.
You May Not Serve the Papers Yourself
It is not legal for you to hand the divorce papers to your spouse and say that they have been served; you will need to have the sheriff’s office or a process server do it for you. That way there is legal proof that a neutral, third-party served the paperwork, and that it was received by your spouse.
The divorce paperwork can also be mailed; however, it has to be sent certified or registered mail, with a return receipt requested. If you are concerned that your spouse may not sign for the letter, then you will want to have them served in person.
Substituted Service May Be Necessary
If your spouse is refusing to sign for the letter and is dodging the process server to avoid the paperwork and the divorce, you may need to petition the court to have them served another way. In these cases, it’s always best to have an attorney help you, so you can get the substituted service moving forward and have your spouse served in a way that complies with the laws of Texas.
Service By Posting or Publication
In rare cases, service by posting (if there are no children) or publication (if there are children) may be required. This is only for those who truly cannot locate their spouse, and who have proof that they have looked thoroughly and carefully for that person. An attorney can help you get this kind of service completed so that you can proceed with your divorce. While this is a more difficult situation, there are ways that a divorce can still be granted.
No matter what your situation is, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer as soon as you’ve decided to get a divorce. Alison Grant is here to help you with prompt legal services and compassionate advice.