Serving Divorce Papers
Dedicated Phoenix family law attorney explains the process of serving divorce papers in Arizona.
After meeting with a client for the initial consultation and we have gotten the petition for divorce drafted, the next step in the process is serving the other party with divorce papers and how best to do it. That requires us to locate the other party, first of all. Are they in state? Are the out of state? It requires us to look at the nature of the divorce. A lot of that can be determined with our interview with our client. Is this going to be a highly contentious divorce? Have there been past domestic violence issues? Are they still living in the same house? Does our client know where the other party lives or works?
There are a number of factors that we analyze to determine what the best pathway is. It must be pursuant to the rules of family law in the state of Arizona. We must do it by procedure because there is a certain way that they must be served. We would find out the most productive means of service that subjects our client to the least amount of liability, especially if the other party does not know that they are going to be served with divorce papers.
If there is some mutuality, we may even invite the other party in and have them sign the acceptance of service in the office if their divorce is that amicable. If the other party is, for example, an ex-veteran with a gun safe as big as an office, and they’ve been fighting with their spouse for the last three years and struggle with suicidal tendencies, then I would absolutely not send the client over there to serve them with divorce papers. I’d even be reluctant to send a process server over there in circumstances similar to that. We would figure out the best, and safest way to serve these papers.
It is a case by case basis. Once you’re represented by our law firm, it becomes our responsibility to determine the method of service and make sure that it is consistent with the rules of family law procedure in Arizona. This service must be effective, because there are certain things attached to the service that you would want in place prior to the divorce proceeding to its next phase.