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How To Serve The Initial Divorce Papers In Texas

Serving divorce paperwork is an important step in any Texas divorce. The divorce paperwork being served to your spouse discloses what is being asked for in the divorce as well as the time they have to respond. There are many requirements that must be met when it comes to serving these initial Texas divorce papers. Read on to learn about them and contact our Texas divorce lawyers with any questions.

Am I Required To Serve The Initial Divorce Papers To My Spouse?

When you file for divorce in Texas you must serve your spouse with the initial divorce papers to notify them of what you are requesting and how long they have to respond. The only exception to this is if your spouse is willing to voluntarily fill out and sign a Respondent’s Original Answer form or a Waiver of Service form.

What Papers Comprise The Initial Divorce Papers?

The initial divorce papers in Texas are comprised of several documents. First is the citation which is a form you will obtain from the clerk’s office upon filing your divorce case. Additionally, you will need to serve a copy of your Original Petition for Divorce. Lastly, copies of any other forms you may have filed with your Original Petition for Divorce will need to be served to your spouse.

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How Do I Serve The Initial Divorce Papers?

In Texas, you are not allowed to serve the initial divorce papers yourself. You must arrange to have the initial divorce papers served to your spouse by a constable, sheriff, private process server, or the court clerk. There are several methods to arrange this:

Personal Service

This is when an individual such as the constable, sheriff, or a private process server delivers the initial divorce papers to your spouse in person. A Return of Service form will be completed stating when and where they were served. The Return of Service will then need to be filed with the court.

Mail Service

The clerk can mail the initial divorce papers to your spouse as well. This needs to be done via certified or registered mail with a return receipt requested. If the return receipt is signed by your spouse the clerk can use this to complete and file a Return of Service form with the court.

What If I Am Unable To Find My Spouse To Serve Them?

If your divorce doesn’t involve children and you are unable to find your spouse to serve them the initial divorce papers there are two options for serving them. The first option is called service by posting. This is when you have a notice posted at the courthouse. Since it is unlikely your spouse will ever see this the law gives them 2 years to ask for a new trial. The second option is service by publication where you would have the notice published in a newspaper and the public information website. This also carries the 2-year stipulation where your spouse can ask for a new trial.

There are many steps that must be met in order to serve by posting or publication. It is advised that you first speak with a divorce lawyer to ensure you understand all of the requirements necessary.

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Austin family lawyer Clare Mattione

Clare Mattione
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Austin, TX

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Cherrell Holmes
Associate Attorney
San Antonio, TX

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Erica Larson
Associate Attorney
Austin, TX

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced Texas divorce lawyers takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today! Learn about our divorce lawyers in Austin and our divorce lawyers in San Antonio Let us make a positive difference in your life.

By: MFL Team

Posted May 25, 2022

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