There are several ways divorce, legal separation or annulment papers can be served on the other party.
Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt: In most of our cases, the other party simply voluntarily signs a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt. By signing this form, they voluntary accept service of the papers. Signing this form does not mean they agree with what the Petition asks for, but simply avoids having to be formally served by a process server. Since the divorce “clock” starts on the day of service, if your spouse has been provided with the paperwork and a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt but is delaying returning it, you may want to have them formally served.
Formal Service: If a person is not willing to sign a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt, you should arrange to serve them by a process server. The fee for this service will vary but usually costs between $75-$150. If attempt has been made for serve a party through a process server and they are unsuccessful, you may need to ask the court permission to serve them by publication.
Service by Publication: Sometimes a spouse goes missing and their whereabouts are unknown. The court will allow a party to serve their spouse by publication after showing that they have made every effort to find them. Efforts include 1) investigative report by private investigator 2) request for forwarding address with post office 3) internet and social media search and 3) contacting relatives and friends. Most courts will accept a professional investigative report but other courts require every effort to be made before approving an application to serve by Publication.