Serving Divorce Papers in Another State

Serving Divorce Papers in Another State

Before the divorce process can begin, you have to deliver or “serve” divorce papers on your spouse. For most people, this step is no problem, as many couples are still cohabitating at the time of divorce. However, many others separate long before the divorce process is started. One spouse may move out of South Carolina altogether, either for work, family or just to get away from an unhappy marriage. No matter how far away from South Carolina your spouse is, however, serving divorce papers in another state is always an option.

Once the divorce papers have been filed, you need to deliver a formal notice of divorce to your spouse. There are several requirements that must be met to ensure that your spouse receives the papers and has notice of the proceedings against him or her.

Private Process Server

One option is to hire a process server in the state or area where your spouse currently lives. Individuals or companies offer this service for those who need to formally serve an individual with legal papers, and they are often experienced with tracking down and complying with all the necessary requirements. While process servers may be efficient and experienced in handling these matters, they are often the most expensive option available.

Law Enforcement

Another option available is to use local law enforcement officers in the area where your spouse lives to serve divorce papers. The local sheriff’s department will most likely require a small fee to complete service on your spouse, and the sheriff’s department must complete a notarized form after delivery attesting to the completion of the service.

Serving Divorce Papers by U.S. Mail

Possibly the most common option of serving divorce papers in another state is simply mailing the papers to him or her. To comply with South Carolina law, divorce papers delivered through the mail must be sent:

  • Certified mail
  • Restricted delivery
  • Return receipt requested
  • Receipt signed by the spouse

In addition to these mailing requirements, a sworn statement must also be filed with the court stating that these requirements were met, as well as proof of receipt with the spouse’s signature. While cheap, the downside to this method is that the spouse may simply refuse delivery. With no signature, the divorce proceedings cannot move forward.

Personal Delivery

It is possible to simply hand the divorce papers over to your spouse and have him or her sign to show that they received the papers. This works best in amicable and simple divorces. However, if the divorce is emotionally charged, it may not be best to have one spouse serve the other.

Get Help From a South Carolina Divorce Attorney

Serving divorce papers in another state properly is critical to ensure that the divorce proceedings occur smoothly. Failure to do so can have negative results, the least of which is that it delays the proceedings from happening. When filing for a divorce you should always consult and retain the services of an experienced South Carolina divorce attorney.

The attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC in Mt. Pleasant, SC have decades of experience counseling and representing individuals going through the divorce process, helping to ensure their rights are represented to the fullest.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.