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What if you cannot serve your spouse with divorce papers?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2021 | Divorce

If you are contemplating ending your marriage, you may be ready to finish the process and move on with your life. Before you get to that point, though, you must divide marital property and settle child custody issues. To improve your financial future, you may also want to pursue spousal support.

The first formal step in ending your marriage is usually serving your soon-to-be ex-spouse with divorce papers. If your husband or wife tries to hide from you, this step may be more difficult than you think.

Service of divorce papers

While your divorce effectively wraps up your marriage, it is a legal process. Essentially, you must sue your husband or wife. Serving divorce papers puts your spouse on notice of the lawsuit. It also starts the clock on your spouse’s limited time to respond.

You must use an official process server to serve your initial divorce papers. In Texas, sheriffs, constables and private process servers can legally take care of the task for you. You cannot serve your spouse with the initial filing, however.

Potential challenges

If your spouse does not want to proceed with the divorce or does not want to accept service, he or she may hide from the process server. Nevertheless, the server should make a reasonable effort to locate your spouse and serve the divorce papers.

Eventually, if you cannot properly serve your husband or wife, you can ask a judge for permission to use an alternative means to notify your spouse about the divorce. Sending the papers by certified mail may work. You may also be able to post notice at the courthouse or publish it in the newspaper.

Ultimately, even if your spouse places obstacles in your way, you have options for serving papers and starting the divorce process.