Filing Proof of Service in a Divorce Case
Authored By: Children's Law Center
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I've gotten my spouse served with the divorce papers. What do I do next?
You must file proof of service with the court. This is how you notify the court that your spouse has been properly served.
What is 'proof of service'? What do I need to file?
- The person who served the papers must sign a statement that the papers were served. This statement is also called an affidavit of service or a return of service.
- Read the sections below to find out more about how to do an affidavit of service depending on whether service was done by hand-delivery, certified mail, publication, or posting.
- You can get affidavit of service forms from the Family Court Central Intake Center or the Family Court Self-Help Center. It is preferable to use the court form to make sure that the necessary information is included.
If the papers were delivered to my spouse, who signs the affidavit of service?
- The person who delivered the papers to your spouse must sign the affidavit. Notarization is not required.
- The affidavit should indicate what papers were served and the name of the person to whom the papers were delivered (which should be your spouse, or a person of suitable age who resides with your spouse). It should also include the date, approximate time, and location that the papers were served. It should also state that the person who delivered the papers is over 18 and not a party to the case.
- Click here for an affidavit of service that you can fill out on the computer. You will need to print it out, have the server sign it, and then file it with the court. The form can also be filled out by hand.
If the papers were mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, who signs the affidavit of service?
- The person who mailed the papers signs the affidavit. If you mailed the papers, you sign the affidavit. Notarization is not required.
- The affidavit should indicate what papers were mailed and when.
- You must attach the certified mail slip and the return receipt (green card) to the affidavit.
- Click here for an affidavit of service you can fill out on the computer. You must still print it out and file it with the court. You can also fill it out by hand.
If notice was published in the newspaper, what do I do?
The newspaper should mail the necessary affidavit. The newspaper may send the affidavit to the court or to you. Check with the newspaper to find out what procedure they follow. If the affidavit is sent to you, file it at the Family Court Central Intake Center.
If notice was posted in the courthouse, what do I do?
The Family Court clerk's office will take care of posting the notice and recording proof of service.
What happens next?
Read the section on What Happens After I Have Served the Divorce Papers On My Spouse?