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Filing for Divorce versus Serving Papers

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 21-Jul-2012

Filing for divorce and serving papers for a divorce can sound the same, but they are two different actions. Having your papers filed for divorce is the first step in the divorce process. The process of filing for divorce will be taken care of once you hire an attorney, who will file the appropriate paperwork with the Clerk of Courts – which officially makes your divorce a legal case. Then the papers are served to your spouse s/he becomes aware that you have taken legal action for divorce. The serving of the papers act as a formal notice.

Keep in mind, to have your divorce papers filed in Pennsylvania either you or your spouse must have been a resident for at least six months immediately prior to filing for the divorce. If one of you are in the military Attorney James Cairns offers customized service for military divorces. Also, if your spouse is incarcerated Attorney Cairns will help you navigate a divorce from your incarcerated spouse.

Serving your spouse for divorce is when your spouse gets a "true and correct" copy of the paperwork (called a Complaint) that your divorce attorney filed with the cout on your behalf. This can happen in two different ways. You can either give the papers yourself to your spouse. The other way is to have Attorney James Cairns serve the papers for you. If you are having a challenging divorce you may want to consider getting the divorce papers served by an attorney. Be aware that your spouse must be cooperative in order to use our services. This means that your spouse must be willing to sign a document that we will provide that says he/she has been served. If your spouse will not sign the paperwork, we still may be able to get your divorce for you, but you will need to call us and tell us your situation first.

Once your spouse receives the papers there are a couple items your spouse should know. The most important item is the deadline of when to sign and return the paperwork. Also, the reason for divorce will be stated in what is called a Notice to Defend. If your spouse agrees and signs the Acceptance of Service, then you have an uncontested divorce. If your spouse does not sign the paperwork then the divorce will be treated as a contested divorce, meaning you are going to have to go to court.

Normally your spouse will have 30 days to sign the Acceptance of Service if your spouse resides in Pennsylvania (90 days if your spouse resides outside of Pennsylvania). Note that serving your spouse divorce papers acts as a way for the court to know that your spouse is officially aware of the divorce. Also, serving papers may help establish the date of separation. But, you cannot legally remarry until the the court actually grants you a Divorce Decree.

Once you are ready to file for an uncontested divorce contact Attorney James Cairns for a free initial consultation at 888.8636.9115. For an immediate free virtual consultation click on DIVORCE WIZARD. The Divorce Wizard will analyze and qualify your case for an online Pennsylvania divorce, calculate your legal fees, and file your case immediately. It's just like sitting in our office for a free consultation. Also, read our client testimonials and Avvo reviews to see what our clients think of our services.