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How to Serve Divorce Papers to Your Spouse?

How to Serve Divorce Papers to Your Spouse?

Divorce is not easy, whether it is mutual or not. There are many things to consider, tackle, and do to get the whole job done properly. For example, if the divorce is not mutual, there are the lawyer’s fees and going to trial, etc.

If there is a child involved, then the questions and conflicts of child custody and support, etc. are also there. But staying in a loveless or abusive marriage is far tricky for both partners.

However, one of the divorce rules is serving divorce papers to your spouse to let them know your decision. Today, we will discuss the process, importance, and rules, and regulations. Keep on reading!

How to serve divorce paper?

Getting a divorce is a very reasonable and very long process. From many of the processes, serving the divorce paper to your spouse is the first thing you need to be concerned about.

In Canada, there are many rules and regulations regarding serving the divorce paper. Let us discuss their ins and outs for you.

What is serving divorce paper?

According to the divorce law, the word ‘serve’ is to inform the other partner that you have launched a case according to your accusation in court.

So, serving someone a divorce paper means you inform the other partner that you no longer want to do anything with them or the marriage. You are telling the person that you are now starting the divorce process.

Read Also: Does Cheating Affect Divorce Settlement in Canada?

What kind of documents did you need to serve?

There are certain documents you need to serve your partner before the procedure starts to continue. Such as-

  • The photocopy of the copy of your case that you have launched asking for a divorce
  • The photocopy of the court summons. Remember, you have to keep the original copy of the summon. After your spouse is served with the divorce file, you need to return the copy to the court.
  • Additionally, if you filled any Joint Preliminary Injunction, then another copy of the paper needs to be sent.

When to serve the paperwork?

There are certain papers to serve before proceeding with the matter. If your divorce notice is not served within 120 days to your spouse, the case will be dismissed.

But for certain reasons, if you are unable to serve the paper within 120 days, the time can be extended with the court’s permission.

Who can serve the other spouse?

You need to choose someone neutral from your case. They need to be at least 18 years old or above. If you cannot find that kind of neutral person for you to serve, you can always ask for the help of your town’s sheriff or private service. They will do the job with utter carefulness.

Now, there can be a question of whether you can serve the paper on your own. The answer is- yes, you can serve the paper if your partner does not have any problem handling the procedure. That means, if the divorce is mutual, you can do that on your own.

Read Also: How to File for Divorce?

How to serve?

If you are doing the whole paperwork all by yourself, you may want to go through the process-

1. Acceptance of the service

The divorce paper will be delivered to your spouse within 120 days. According to the law, you can deliver it (if your spouse does not have any problem). If that is not possible, some other neutral person older than 18 can serve the paper.

After the service, the spouse needs to verify the petition by sending the service’s acceptance with the necessary signature.

2. First-class Mail

Via the first-class mail system, you need to send it with the acknowledgment letter. If the letter is not returned within the right time that is 120 days, you need to consider another process of serving the paperwork.

3. Certified mail

While you are sending the paper, you can attach the return receipt as proof of getting the papers. When your spouse receives the papers, the receipt will automatically be returned to you as proof. It works when your spouse is far away from you and may not have the facility to ensure you get the mail.

4. Service from the sheriff

When you have no option of sending the paper personally or via mail and still cannot find any neutral person to serve, the town sheriff is on the rescue. Proof of service form will be filled up by the person in charge to be sent to the court later.

5. By publication

When all the process fails, you can publish the news in the newspaper for the announcement. The newspaper should be published in the area where your spouse is most likely to be living.

A newspaper that is going to be available for them to read. After the public announcement, you need to send a copy with a signature to the court that you have published the news in the newspaper.

Remember, it is only valid when all the other process has failed. Otherwise, this announcement will not be taken into consideration. You will have to do the process all over again.

What if you cannot find the defendant?

If you have no idea where your spouse lives and do not have any other way to inform him, then you can use the help of social media or email to notify them. Remember, you need to show a copy of the email or social media as proof of your notification.

Why serving divorce paper is important?

Divorce can happen for many reasons. It can be both of the person’s problems or only one of them. But one way or another, you cannot just go to trial for divorce. The other partner needs to know about the reason beforehand so that both parties are well aware of what is going on in their marriage.

Ask for help from the legal advisor

It will be very reasonable if you take help from your legal advisor before doing the paperwork. The lawyer should supervise the whole process not to get logically cheated by the other party’s lawyer.


Divorce is a long and tiresome process. But there is no scope for the mistake. To avoid mistakes, serving the divorce paper is a must. By doing this, you can avoid any further arguments before the honorable court.

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