Do I have to have my spouse served for an uncontested divorce if he’s willing to sign?

I hear conflicting information on whether it’s necessary in my case. I am doing my divorce pro se and the instructions that the court hands out states that the plaintiff is to send the papers to the defendant. If the defendant doesn’t return the affidavit, continue to the next step in the instructions which states the defendant is to be served personally by hand.

Asked on July 26, 2012 under Family Law, New York


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The court's instructions are referring to a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt.  If your spouse signs the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt, that would be sufficient without having your spouse served by a process server or the marshal.  The purpose of signing the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt or the purpose of being served by a process server if the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt is not signed is to provide notice to your spouse of your Petition for Divorce.  If your spouse signs the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt and returns it to you, your spouse has notice of your Petition for Divorce and your case proceeds without having to have your spouse served by a process server or the marshal.

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