The Process Of Serving Divorce Papers In Florida
Deciding to divorce your spouse is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. Unfortunately, making that tough decision is just the beginning of the process. As in every other state, Florida outlines very specific procedures you must follow when filing for divorce. First, you must complete the petition for dissolution of marriage and file it with the appropriate family court, which is in the same county in which you reside.
After the papers are filed with the court, you then must serve your spouse with the divorce papers. This step can be an intimidating one, particularly if you have never served someone with legal papers before. Our Brandon divorce attorney outlines the process below, and can help you through it.
Serving Divorce Papers to Your Spouse
Under state law, you are not permitted to personally serve your spouse with divorce papers. After you have filed the petition with the court, the clerk will provide you with a summons. A copy of the petition and the summons must be served to your spouse. You must use a private or certified process server or a Sheriff to serve the divorce documents to your spouse. If you are planning to pursue child support or alimony, you must also include a financial affidavit within the package.
Of course, you must provide the server with your spouse’s location, whether that is a home or business. The paperwork must be served in process. If your spouse is not home at the time of service, the server can leave the package with another member of the household, as long as they are at least 15 years old.
Responding to the Divorce Papers
After the divorce papers are served to your spouse, they have 20 days to respond to anything you included in the original paperwork. Along with responding to anything you included in the petition, your spouse can also include a counter petition to address any issues that were not included in yours.
Once the divorce papers have been served, you and your spouse must both submit a financial affidavit within 45 days of service, if an affidavit has not already been provided. It is critical that you provide full disclosure about your finances and the property you own. Attempting to hide assets or income will not only hurt your divorce case, but it is also against the law. When the court learns about the dishonesty, which it will, you will also face serious consequences.
Our Divorce Attorney in Brandon Can Assist with Service
The divorce process is intimidating, particularly for those who have never been through it before. If you have made the difficult decision to end your marriage, our Brandon divorce attorney at Koether Law, P.A. can help with every aspect of the process, from serving the papers to obtaining the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at 813-347-8193 or connect with us online to schedule a meeting with our attorney and to obtain the sound legal advice you need.