Options if a spouse refuses divorce papers after service

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Divorce

In any divorce case, the first crucial step is serving the divorce documents, which inform the other spouse that a divorce case has been initiated. However, there may be instances where the other spouse refuses to accept these documents. This is possibly due to shock, denial or a desire to make the process more difficult.

This can certainly stall the start of the divorce, but there are ways to overcome it. Here’s how one can serve their soon-to-be ex-spouse with divorce papers.

Alternative services in Texas

If a spouse refuses personal delivery of divorce papers, Texas law provides several alternative options. Hiring a private process server or a constable is an option if personal delivery fails. These professionals have experience in serving documents even under challenging circumstances. They can then provide an affidavit of service, a sworn document that verifies they really served the spouse with the papers.

Service through an attorney

For spouses who have retained a lawyer, serving the documents directly to the attorney is another effective option. This method often can be effective, as the attorney has the responsibility to inform their client about the divorce proceedings.

Other methods of service

Texas law permits alternative methods if a spouse actively avoids service or if authorities can’t locate them. One such method involves serving by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. In this scenario, the court clerk mails the divorce papers directly to the spouse, who then has to sign a receipt upon delivery.

If all these methods also fail, the court might grant permission for service by publication (publishing a notice in a newspaper) or posting (posting the citation at the courthouse). These methods, requiring court permission, typically serve as a last resort.

Seeking necessary help

A spouse’s refusal to accept divorce papers can certainly complicate the process, but Texas law offers several solutions to this challenge. Whether through a process server, an attorney, or alternative methods, the state provides individuals with various ways to serve the papers and start the divorce.

Individuals who encounter any difficulties with the service process should seek a legal professional. They can help understand the best approach for their specific circumstances.

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