Last Updated on
After you’ve decided it’s time for a divorce, one of the first things you’ll have to do is file the divorce papers. In order to properly file those papers, you have to serve a copy of the summons and the complaint on your spouse. There are a few ways possible to do this, legally. You can do a personal service (hand delivery), or you can do a certified mail(with return receipt). Anyone 18, or over, can hand the papers to your spouse. It can be a family member or friend. You can also hire a professional process server, who handles serving it for you. It can NEVER be you. It has to be given, by another adult. You cannot serve it yourself.
The papers must be given to your spouse directly, not to someone else. You can give the papers to someone of suitable, and discretion, who lives in the same home as your spouse. You will have to be able to prove to the judge, that your spouse lives with this other person. The papers cannot be given to someone the spouses job. The only person who legally accept the papers for your spouse is someone who actually lives with him/her. The only reason this rule changes, is if the spouse has authorized someone else to accept the papers on his/her behalf.
The papers can be delivered to your spouse anywhere you find him, or her. Whether it be at home, or at work, or at a gas station. The only thing that matters is the fact it’s done. If the person delivering the papers tells you the spouse isn’t accepting the papers; you can drop the papers at your spouse’s feet. If the person delivering the papers can’t get in, to see your spouse – face to face; then you’ll have to keep trying to serve the papers.
If you choose to use a certified receipt, you can mail the papers yourself. You can mail the papers to any address where you think the spouse will be available to receive and sign for them. You can mail the papers to any address where you think your spouse will be able to receive and sign for them. The return receipt, has to be signed by your spouse, in order for it to be considered a valid service.
You have 60 days from the day you file, in order to get the divorce papers in motion – in order to serve your spouse. IF you don’t serve within that time, you need to go back to the Family Court center, before the 60 days. They will give you a new summons, and then you’ll get another 60 days. If you need additional time, then you’ll have to ask the judge. You can file a written request, or appear in a court hearing and ask the judge.
If you need more help, please speak to a Manhattan Divorce law firm, like ours.