Divorce Petition-Alternative Means For Service Of Process-
When filing an initial petition for divorce or paternity in Tulsa, the non-filing parent must be served with the petition and a summons. When a parent is filing to modify a previous court order, the other parent must be properly served with that motion. When filing any other post decree relief, such as for contempt, the non-filing parent must be served the petition.
As you can see, service is a fundamentally important part of any Family Law legal process. The purpose of service is to give the other parent proper notice that a legal matter is now pending before the court. Without proper service, the filing parents request will be denied for failing to provide notice to the other parent..
Service upon the other parent must be first tried through the following means by a sheriff, a sheriff’s deputy, or a licensed process server.
Service though these means can only be completed and perfected if the party receiving the documents were delivered personally or by leaving copies thereof at the person’s dwelling house with some person then residing there who is fifteen (15) years of age or older or by delivering a copy of the summons and of the petition to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process
Additionally, service can initially be attempted through sending documents via certified first-class mail with restricted delivery only to the parent to be served.
Once service is accomplished through these means, the summons, along with the proof of service, whether an affidavit or the return receipt of from mailing, should be filed with the appropriate court clerk.
If those options are not successful, the filing party would then have to ask the appropriate judge for approval to attempt service through alternative means.
One of the alternative means is to ask for service by publication. In order to be allowed to attempt service by publication, the filing parent must show to the court that even after due diligence, service could not be made by any other method. If publication is allowed by the court, notice must be given in a newspaper authorized by law to publish legal notices that is published in the county where the petition was filed for one (1) day a week for three (3) consecutive weeks.
Finally, as a last resort, if service cannot be made by personal delivery or by mail, then the parent filing may ask the court that service be provided in any manner which is reasonably calculated to give the other actual notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard. Which means service can be made through e-mail, leaving a note on the other parent’s door, or sending notice through non-certified mail.
If you are the non filing parent, it is best not to attempt to dodge or otherwise avoid service. It will cause unnecessary delays and may you look bad before the judge. If the sheriff or a process server is looking to serve you, willingly accept the documents. If a certified mailing comes, sign for it. Any direct refusal of service, is enough to for the courts to determine that you have proper notice and a default judgment could be entered against you, which in turn would lead to more costly litigation to vacate any default orders regarding child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division.
At the Family Lawyers Group our Tulsa Family Law Attorneys have helped countless families through the Divorce and Child Custody process in Tulsa. If you would like a Free legal consultation with a Family law attorney please call 918-742-3555 or send me an email