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Serving the Divorce Petition: The Second Step in the Florida Divorce Process

Filing for divorce in the state of Florida involves several steps, all of which must be executed correctly to comply with state law and to ensure the divorce is legal. The second step in the Florida divorce process is the “serving” of the divorce petition. What is service, why is it necessary, and how does one perform it? Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers regarding this step in Florida divorce.

What Is Service?

When initiating a legal action against someone else, the person initiating the action must serve the other party to the legal action. That is, the other party must receive notice of the legal action, a copy of the individual’s claims, and sometimes other documents based on the type of legal action being initiated. The procedure as a whole is called (perhaps a little confusingly) “service of process”, the documents being the “process” being served.

Why Do I Have to Serve My Spouse? He/She is Already Aware of the Divorce.

Service of process is longstanding method used throughout the legal system to accomplish several goals. First, service of process is the first component of ensuring that a court can exercise its power (that is, has jurisdiction) over an individual against whom the legal action is filed. Second, service of process provides notice to the other party, and even if the other party is already aware of the action, service of process registers with the court that notice was given. Being given notice of pending legal actions against oneself is a key component of the American legal system.

How Do I Serve My Spouse?

Service of process is a requirement for divorce in Florida. An individual, after filing a petition to divorce with the court, can serve his or her spouse in several different ways. In some counties, the individual may be able to have the sheriff’s office of the county come and perform the service of process. If an individual would like to utilize this method of service, he or she should contact the court clerk’s office to see if the sheriff’s office of that county is willing to provide that. Or, the individual may utilize a private process server, an individual paid to serve process to parties. If an individual would like to utilize this method of service, he or she should contact the court clerk’s office for a list of approved process servers and may generally select any one of them.

How Can I Get Help?

Service of process in a divorce, while a simple task, can feel emotional, stressful, or bureaucratic. If you are having difficulty with this or any other part of the divorce process (and even if you believe you are doing well), you may benefit from the assistance of a qualified family law or divorce attorney. At Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, experienced family law attorneys are standing by and ready to answer your questions. Call 561-391-9943 today.

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