Have you decided to proceed with a divorce? You’ll first need to file the proper court documents to begin your case. Once that’s done, the next thing in the dissolution process is serving your spouse a copy of the divorce papers.
The steps involved in serving divorce papers are important to follow carefully, as the procedure formally notifies your marriage partner that the paperwork has been filed at the courthouse, informing him or her of the upcoming legal proceeding. It also permits them an opportunity to respond to the filing. The paperwork discloses what is being asked for, and tells them the time they have to respond.
Serving divorce papers in Colorado is usually conducted by hand delivery or a personal service. You may chose to employ a professional process server to serve the divorce papers, or you may ask someone in your family. Take note that any family member or a friend assigned to this task, must be 18 or over to legally serve. Note, too, that you cannot serve divorce papers on your spouse by yourself.
There are things to keep in mind if you choose to hire a professional process server. The person serving the divorce papers on your spouse must document the event. They must fill out a form stating where the papers were served, the time and date they were served, and other pertinent details. This form must be filed with the court as evidence your spouse did in fact get the divorce papers.
The receiving spouse must sign the paperwork. If the person serving the papers is unable to do that, to meet the spouse in person, then you must keep trying until the papers are indeed signed.
In some cases, another person may be served your spouse’s papers – provided that the recipient is of legal age and discretion, and lives in the same domicile as the person to be served. The judge must be presented, though, with evidence the person served does in fact live with the other party in the divorce.
Divorce papers may be served wherever your spouse can be found, including his or her home, place of work, or even in a public setting such as a gas station or on the street. A receptionist or co-worker at your spouse’s place of work cannot generally accept the papers on his or her behalf.
If you cannot locate your spouse, then you may be able to serve him or her through a publication as a last resort – with special permission from the court. In order for this to be considered legally binding, the petition must be published in a newspaper for a specific amount of time. As proof of service, you will need to provide the court with a copy of the publication notice, along with a statement of how long it was published.