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How to serve divorce papers in California

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2023 | Divorce

Ideally, California couples going through a divorce or separation do so amicably, where both people in the relationship are agreed that it’s in their best interest to split. Sometimes, one person decides before the other can be entirely on board.

Filing for divorce

Usually, it’ll be one person filing for divorce – even in amicable separations. Once that’s done, the paperwork must be presented to the other spouse.

Ideally, this is as easy as dropping the divorce paperwork off at their house to hand it to them directly. If there’s bad blood between you and your ex, you might ask someone to give your ex the paperwork instead.

When someone else gives your ex the divorce paperwork, you’re serving your ex with divorce papers. The person delivering the paperwork would be considered the server.

Picking a server

A few different factors will influence who you pick to be your server. If you don’t want to see your spouse, you can ask almost anyone else – as long as they are above eighteen years old and not a part of the divorce case. Some people who can be servers are:

  • A friend
  • Your attorney
  • The county sheriff
  • A professional process server

If you don’t know where your spouse is, you might enlist local law enforcement to help track them down or deliver the papers themselves. Your spouse will have 30 days to respond.

Proof of service form

After the server – whoever they may be – has served your spouse with the divorce papers, they’ll have to fill out a Proof of Service form. The Proof of Service form will include the address at which the server handed your ex the divorce paperwork and the date and time it was delivered.

Filing for divorce and be emotionally draining. Don’t be afraid to use a professional server if it’s better to minimize contact with your spouse before the divorce.