Like other types of legal cases, the law sets out many procedures for filing and obtaining a divorce. Pennsylvania laws and court procedures strive to protect the rights of both parties in a divorce case whenever possible and, therefore, you must meet certain requirements in order to successfully dissolve your marriage. One such requirement is to properly serve notice of the divorce petition to your spouse. Each state has its own procedures for service and you should always consult with an experienced divorce attorney who has specific knowledge of the Pennsylvania divorce process and laws.
As the first step in the divorce process, you must draft a petition (also called a complaint) requesting the divorce and file it with the proper court. Simply filing the petition is not enough, however, as you must ensure that your spouse is properly notified that divorce proceedings have been initiated against them. This notice is important because it gives them the opportunity to challenge all or part of the divorce case. Divorce can have substantial consequences that can affect a person’s family and finances and the courts firmly hold that an individual should have the right to answer divorce petitions and represent their interests in a divorce case whenever possible.
Serving divorce papers can happen in different ways including having the papers delivered to your spouse in person or via U.S. mail. However, you will have to provide verification to the court that the papers were served, so you should always use certified mail or first class mail with an acknowledgment form.
As times are changing and technology is taking over many aspects of our lives, courts are looking to more modern ways of serving divorce papers. In fact, last year, one judge ruled that service in one particular case would be allowed via Facebook. In that case, the address and whereabouts of the spouse were not known, yet the spouse regularly logged in and posted on Facebook, so service via the social media site was permitted. It is important to note that such methods of service are not acceptable in any case unless circumstances require it and the court expressly gives permission.
Call for a Consultation with a Divorce Attorney in Philadelphia Today
Proper service of divorce papers is essential to begin the divorce process. You need an attorney handling your case who understands all procedural family court rules includes filings, service, and more. The experienced divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Smith & Horwitz in Philadelphia will ensure that every step of your divorce case is skillfully handled. If you need assistance, please call our office at (215) 515-8464 for more information.