What It Means to Be Served With Divorce Papers
The time has come. Your divorce papers have been filed, now all you have to do is effectuate service of process. If it’s true that strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle, you are considering adopting the moniker of warrior and acknowledging that you have reached personal enlightenment. Sure the idea of ’til death do you part’ doesn’t sound so bad if that means your betrothed meets an untimely fate after being hit in the head by a falling coconut, but the chances of that are pretty slim (150 people a year actually die this way, crazy right?!). That said, you have come to the realization that the only way for you or your former soul mate to attain true happiness is by taking the midnight train to Splitsville. To do this, you have decided to take the high road and try to break it to your “better” half gently. You have spoken to their family, friends and even agreed to countless sessions with a marriage counselor who confirmed to your partner that it’s time for the two of you to cut your losses and call it quits. There’s only one problem. Despite the decision to take the high road, you’re pretty sure your significant other was the muse for Mark Twain when he wrote denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.
Service of Divorce Papers in Florida
Service of process is the delivery or other communication of a summons and divorce papers in such a manner to charge the party legally with its receipt. This gives the court jurisdiction to adjudicate the matters in controversy. Jurisdiction can be obtained by personal service, substituted service, constructive service, or waiver of formal service by the other party. The purpose of service of process is to provide due process under the federal and Florida constitutions. Therefore, the main issue is whether there is adequate notice and opportunity to be heard. Any judgment entered without service on or notice to a party is void. This can prove to be quite an obstacle if your spouse is in denial and does anything in his or her power to evade service.
Don’t start banging your head against the wall just yet. There are available safeguards to effectuate service of process in these circumstances, such as drop service. This occurs when the person to be served is home and takes action to avoid service. If a person attempts to avoid service of process by closing the door on the process server while service is taking place, the service is complete when the process is left on the door step or in the mailbox after the process server identifies himself or herself and reads the process in a loud voice. Actual physical contact is unnecessary as a person has a legal obligation to accept service in Florida when it is reasonably attempted. Additionally, if a respondent conceals himself or herself so that process cannot be personally served, and the petitioner believes there is no person in the state upon whom service of process would bind the concealed respondent, constructive service may be made. If you are the party claiming inadequate service of divorce papers, it is important to note that if you appear and participate in the action without first raising the defense of insufficiency of service of process, the defense is waived.