How to Serve Your Spouse With Divorce Papers in Texas
"Serving" your spouse with divorce documents can seem kind of scary. But there are a few ways you can do it in Texas, and some of them don't require you to "serve" your spouse at all. Here, we walk you through how to serve (deliver) your divorce petition to your spouse and answer some common questions.
How do I file forms and deliver them to my spouse?
You can file your original petition for divorce, along with any other forms that may apply in your case, to the court in the county you live in or the county your spouse lives in. Included in the petition are your requested orders, which are outlined in the "Final Decree of Divorce."
Once you file your petition for divorce with the court, you must serve (deliver) a file-stamped copy of the Original Petition For Divorce, Citation, and any other forms you filed with the court to your spouse.
These forms are only valid if both of these apply:
- They are served (delivered) by a constable, sheriff, or private process server
- The respondent completes a "Return of Service" form and files it with the court
This sounds complicated and expensive. Are there other options?
If you and your spouse are willing to work together, you can avoid the costs of service by doing one of these things:
- In an uncontested divorce, the spouse designated as the respondent (the one being served) can sign a Waiver of Service Only, filed at the same time as the original petition. This is what's called a "Specific Waiver‚" meaning it has a specific purpose. In this case, it waives one's right to be formally served. This form must be signed in front of a notary public at least one day after the petition was filed with the court.
- If the respondent is willing to fill out and submit the Original Answer form, they do not need to be served. This form does not need to be signed in front of a notary.
The respondent can file either an Answer or a Waiver of Service Only (Specific Waiver).
Depending on the county you're in, the filing fee ranges from $250 to $320. Contact the court clerk's office where you plan to file to learn the precise fee for your case.
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