Do I have to serve my spouse divorce papers in New Jersey?

divorce papers new jersey

Divorce is inevitably a difficult time in anyone’s life, and the legal process can be confusing. Serving divorce papers is typically one of the first steps in beginning legal proceedings. If you need guidance through the divorce process, our Bergen County Divorce Attorneys are here for you! Read on to learn more about divorce papers and their importance in the legal process.

How do I serve divorce papers in the state of New Jersey?

Divorce papers can also be referred to as divorce petitions or complaints. The papers are official documents that normally include the date of marriage, reason for divorce, settlement requests, and more. Divorce papers are served to your spouse after the petitioner files them with the court. Serving divorce papers to your spouse is required in New Jersey with very limited exceptions. Couples are not allowed to file papers jointly: one person must file the divorce petition and the other must be served the papers. Upon receiving the papers, your spouse must then sign an acknowledgment of service confirming that the divorce petition was served.

Should I hire a process server?

Compared to other states, New Jersey has somewhat strict rules regarding who is allowed to serve the divorce petition. You cannot serve them personally. Spouses filing for divorce in New Jersey can hire a process server to serve the divorce papers. Many people decide to hire a process server or even a sheriff for this purpose, but you have to pay a fee to do this. Hiring a trusted divorce attorney means you don’t really need to worry too much about who serves the divorce papers because your attorney will handle serving them.

What if I can’t find my spouse?

In some cases, the petitioner (person filing for divorce) is unable to locate their spouse and therefore cannot successfully serve the divorce papers in person. There are a few exceptions to serving the papers directly. If you prove that you made numerous attempts to contact your spouse and were unable to, the court may allow you to inform them through a publication, like your local newspaper. In rare cases, judges have allowed spouses to serve the papers virtually through social media.

For help in starting your divorce process, or if you need a legal team you can depend on to guide you through, every step of the way, look no further than the Bergen County firm of Townsend Tomaio, & Newmark, LLC. Contact us today so we can get started working on your case.

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