Do you have to file with the court and then serve papers or can you serve before filing with the court?

What is the procedure for filing for divorce. My friend is telling me that the lawyer told him that either way is correct. Is this correct?

Asked on June 4, 2012 under Family Law, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You file your petition for divorce with the court first.  Then, you have the documents served on your spouse.  After the documents have been served on your spouse, file the proof of service with the court.

When you file your petition for divorce with the court, the court stamps it as filed and assigns it a case number.  If you served it before filing with the court, it wouldn't have any effect because you wouldn't have the case number and court stamp that it was filed. 


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