- Personal service
- Substitute service
- Constructive service
Personal service means that a summons and copy of the Petition are handed to your spouse by law enforcement or a certified process server. This is the primary way to serve a person in
Substitute service means that the papers were given to someone over age 15 who lives in the same place as your spouse regularly lives. You cannot accept service if you still live together. So if your spouse is living with her parents, the papers can be handed to her father by law enforcement or a certified process server. This type of service is just as good as personal service on your spouse.
If you don’t know where your spouse lives, you will have to use Constructive Service or Service by Publication. The first step is to “diligently search” for your spouse to try to serve them personally. You can only publish if personal service is not possible. This means using all the information you have about your spouse and asking certain agencies if they have more information, and then following up on that information. It is a specific process and you may want to hire someone knowledgeable to do it for you. Next you’ll file an affidavit with the court outlining your search. After that, you’ll have to publish a notice in the newspaper. Once the publishing is complete and proof of publishing is filed with the clerk, your spouse has notification of the petition and the case can go to final judgment.