When you begin the divorce process, your Texas divorce lawyer will explain what may happen each step of the way. One thing they may discuss with you is the different ways a processor can deliver divorce papers to your spouse. Since this is a legal process, there is a correct way on how to serve divorce papers in Texas.
Included in the serving of divorce papers your spouse will receive the following:
- Receive the notice that you have filed for divorce (service of process)
- Why you are divorcing your spouse (grounds for divorce)
- What terms you would like in the divorce
5 Ways to Serve Divorce Papers in Texas
In the State of Texas, there are specific rules about how to serve someone divorce papers. Following the requirements of serving divorce papers will keep your divorce moving forward. Ensuring your spouse receives the divorce papers correctly will make the process smoother and reduce confusion. The courts may stop the process if your divorce papers are served incorrectly. Here are some ways a process server may deliver the divorce documents.
1. Personal Service
Personal service is when a constable, sheriff or authorized person may hand the divorce papers to your spouse. They can serve papers to your spouse at home, at work or at a commonplace where they visit.
Once there, the process server will first have your spouse verify their identity, just confirming who they are is enough. Once the server gives the documents to your spouse (and no one else), the server will note the date, time and place where they successfully served the papers. They will then file a Return of Service with the courts, stating your spouse received the divorce papers.
2. Service by Registered or Certified Mail
Suppose the sheriff or process server cannot properly deliver the court documents. In that case, the judge may allow your Texas divorce attorney to serve the papers by registered or certified mail.
Your attorney will send the legal documents with a return receipt request. This indicates that your soon-to-be-ex was indeed served the divorce papers. Once that signed receipt comes back, your attorney will file a Return of Service with the courts.
3. Substitute Service by Court Order
There are times when a process server cannot deliver the papers directly to your spouse. Once the process server confirms where your spouse lives or works, your attorney may file a Motion for Substitute Service. This allows the server to leave a copy of the divorce papers with another individual over 16 years old.
Once done, the server will file a Return of Service with the courts. It states that they successfully served the papers at your spouse’s known residence or place of work.
4. Service by Posting
If you cannot find your spouse and there are NO children involved, the court may issue a Service by Posting order. This allows your attorney to post a notice for 7 days at the courthouse and on public information websites. The notice will state that the named individual is hereby given notice of a court proceeding against them.
After seven days, your attorney will file the Return of Service paperwork with the courts, allowing the divorce to proceed.
5. Service by Publication
If you cannot find your spouse and children ARE involved, the court may issue a Service by Publication order. This allows the local newspaper (where you filed for divorce) to publish the legal notice. It also allows your attorney to file the notice on the state’s public information website.
After the allotted days, your attorney will file the Return of Service with the courts, allowing the divorce to proceed.
Working with a Texas Family Law Attorney
It can be difficult to find your ex and serve their divorce papers, especially if they don’t want the divorce. There are rules about how to serve someone divorce papers legally. At C.E. Borman and Associates, we work with some of the best process servers. They follow the proper steps to deliver your Texas divorce papers successfully.
Some divorce papers Texas requires are the Original Petition for Divorce, the citation and copies of other forms filed with the petition. Your attorney will ensure all paperwork is in order before the Process of Service begins.