After you have filed a Complaint for Divorce in New Jersey, you need to serve the papers, along with a summons, on your spouse within 10 days after filing the divorce papers. This is often a stressful and difficult thing to do – especially if your spouse does not want the divorce. However, personal conflict aside, it’s important that you properly serve the papers, especially if your spouse wants to drag his or her feet and delay the process.
Easiest Way to Serve: Spouse Signs Acknowledgement and Waiver of Service
The easiest way to serve NJ divorce papers is to have your spouse sign an Acknowledgement of Service. An Acknowledgement of Service is exactly what it sounds like – your spouse signs a document stating that he or she accepts the fact that the divorce papers have been served. If your ex signs the acknowledgement himself, without an attorney, it must be notarized. If your spouse has an attorney, he or she can sign the acknowledgment of service, and send it back. You or your attorney then file the acknowledgment of service.
Other Ways to Serve NJ Divorce Papers
If you’re in the unfortunate situation where your spouse is refusing to sign or avoiding service of divorce papers, then New Jersey Court rules provide specific ways you can serve the papers.
- Service by Mail: If you expect that your spouse will represent himself/herself or hire an attorney to take part in the divorce proceedings, you can serve your divorce papers by regular and certified mail. This is a simple and cheap way to serve divorce papers. There is one downside to serving divorce papers by mail, however. If your spouse does not respond to service by mail within 60 days, you still must serve him/her by another method. The reason why is because you cannot ask the Court to enter a default judgment of divorce if you completed service by mail. Sometimes, the only that will compel a spouse to answer divorce papers is the threat of the Court entering a default judgment of divorce.
- Service by the Sheriff: Having a sheriff’s officer in the county where your spouse lives is another way to serve your spouse – and is probably cheaper than other process serving companies. Call the sheriff’s office to find out how much it will cost to pay the fees and mileage. You must mail or give the sheriff’s office the following:
- A cover letter to the sheriff
- Two copies of the Summons and Proof of Service
- Two copies of your Complaint for Divorce
- A check or money order for the service fee
- A self-addressed stamped envelope so the sheriff can send you back proof that your spouse has been served
- Hire Process Serving Company: There are tons of companies who will serve your divorce papers for you. They essentially do the same thing as the sheriff’s office, but charge you a lot more. Whatever company you use, make sure they are reputable and search for online reviews.
If you have a more complicated issue about serving your divorce papers – for example, you don’t know where your spouse lives or your spouse lives out state – consult with an attorney about how to achieve proper service.
Law Office of Andrew R. Fischer
I handle all aspects of divorce cases, including filing and serving divorce papers. Call Andrew R. Fischer : Freehold divorce attorney today to learn about the rest of the divorce process, and how I can help you achieve the best results for your divorce.