How Are Divorce Papers Served?

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How Are Divorce Papers Served?

April 23 2018
By Faye Carroll

Once you’ve decided to get a divorce, you may be wondering how to serve divorce papers on your spouse. In Virginia the initial paperwork is called a Complaint for Divorce, and it outlines all the important information about your marriage and what is being asked for in the divorce. This paperwork must be filed with the court.  At Virginia Family Law Center, we usually file in the court where the final decrees are being entered the fastest.

The next step is to have Complaint for Divorce served on your spouse. This lets your spouse know that papers have been filed at the courthouse to start the divorce process. It also lets them know what is being asked for and how much time they have to respond. 

For the divorce to actually proceed, the court will need proof that your spouse was served with the petition.  This can be accomplished in several different ways:

  1.  By your spouse’s Acceptance of Service: The paperwork is personally delivered to your spouse, by you or someone over 18.. You must get your spouse to sign and date the Acceptance of Service paper to verify that the Complaint was actually received.  
  2.  Personal Service by Sheriff or process server:You can hire a Sheriff or professional process server to deliver your Complaint for Divorce. A proof of service form will be filled out by the person serving the petition, which will then be filed with the court.
  3. By Publication:When you have made a diligent search for your spouse, including contacting relatives, and attempting service at his or her last known address without success, the court will allow service to be made by publication. This involves announcing the Complaint for Divorce in a newspaper where your spouse is likely to be living for a specified amount of time. You will need to return a copy of the newspaper notice, with a statement for how long the notice ran, to the court for proof of service.

Virginia Family Law Center, P.C. will take care of all of the service issues for you in your uncontested divorce.  Call us today for a consultation to discuss your case with one of our family law attorneys!


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