How can I get a court date without my husband being served divorce papers?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can I get a court date without my husband being served divorce papers?

I want a divorce from my husband. He left me over a year ago. We have no children or assets

together. He keeps refusing the papers. I tried having is landlord/boss/attorney served with the papers she denied them as well and she also denied that he works for her moving company. I can’t get a court date until he accepts the papers, although I was told by the divorce center that I don’t need his signature. I have tried pleading with the court but they said that my husband needs to know about the

divorce but he does because he keeps refusing the papers. They suggested I put an ad in the paper for a missing person but he isn’t missing. I just want to move on with my life like he has.

Asked on September 3, 2017 under Family Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Retain a lawyer to help you. In New Jersey (and in all other states, I suspect) there is "substituted"  or "alternative" service which grants a court jurisdiction (or power) over a defendant and lets a case proceed even if the defendant did not in fact receive the papers, so long as they were sent in the appropriate way, after the appropriate other efforts, to the appropriate address, and everything documented properly. The service rules can be complex and highly technical in the sense that even a small error can render service ineffective. Therefore, let a lawyer help you. (You legally could try yourself, and can find the rules in the New Jersey Rules of Court, but are strongly advised to let a lawyer do this for you.)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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