Every Muskogee, Oklahoma divorce begins with the filing and service of the petition for dissolution of marriage. The petition must be filed in court in the county in which you and your spouse live. Once the petition is filed, you or a representative must serve your soon-to-be ex-spouse with Muskogee divorce papers.
Oklahoma Divorce Basics
There are many divorce laws in Muskogee, because a divorce proceeding is somewhat like a lawsuit. The petitioner asks the court for legal redress. The petitioner is voluntarily submitted to the court’s jurisdiction by filing the petition.
However, the court has no jurisdiction over the spouse by virtue of the petition itself. In order to gain personal jurisdiction over the spouse, the spouse must be served with the documents. These documents, once served, give notice to the spouse of the legal proceeding itself. The spouse has 20 days to respond.
Each state has its own rules about how to serve divorce papers. It is important that divorce papers are served in accordance with these rules in Oklahoma. If service of process on the spouse is improper, the court has no jurisdiction over the spouse and the case can be dismissed.
Use A Professional Process Server To Serve Muskogee Divorce Papers
Divorce is always stressful. Serving divorce papers upon your spouse only adds to the stress. In addition, your spouse may claim that you never actually served the papers.
Because the petitioner has a personal stake in the service of process, it can make the court question whether the service of process was proper. Any mistake in the service of process can delay the proceedings. Thus, it is better to use a professional process server.
A professional process server is licensed and bonded. They are experts at getting the job done quickly, professionally, and without any added drama.
The process server gives a copy of the petition, the summons, a completed civil cover sheet, and any other necessary documents to the spouse. This is most often done by what is known as personal service.
Once that is done, the process server fills out a proof of service section on the summons and that document is filed with the court. The spouse is now called the respondent in the proceedings.
Serve Divorce Papers By Personal Service
Personal service is the usual mode of service on a spouse. The process server has the spouse identify themselves and then hands them the necessary documents.
If the spouse is not at home, but another person is, service can be accomplished by leaving copies of the papers at the person’s home with someone who lives there and who is 15 years of age or older.
Finally, personal service can be achieved by delivering a copy of the summons and the petition to an agent authorized to receive service of process. This form of service is usually used in the business world, but is less likely in a divorce proceeding.
The process server enters the day and time of the service on the proof of service form and then signs the form. The court requires proof that your spouse was served with the papers before the divorce proceedings can continue.
Serve Muskogee Divorce Papers By Publication
Sometimes it is difficult to serve divorce papers by personal service. A spouse may want to avoid dealing with the divorce and may mistakenly believe that evading service will help. When personal service is not possible, you can serve the documents by “publication.”
Service by publication takes place in a newspaper in the area where your spouse lives. This is usually the same jurisdiction in which the divorce proceedings have been filed.
A notice is “published” in the newspaper which gives the names of the parties, a case number, and a court location. The court may require the notice be printed in the paper several times to help ensure your spouse is given a fair chance to see the notice.
In order to serve divorce papers in this way upon your spouse, you must ask the court for permission first. A hearing is required.
The court will need proof that you have made a diligent effort to have your spouse served personally. That usually requires several attempts at personal service, an affidavit from the process server, and information about which publication you plan to use.
Once you have published the notice the required number of times, you can submit proof of publication to the court and your spouse will be deemed to have been served.
General Appearance And Waiver Of Summons
In some cases, a spouse is willing to sign the general appearance and waiver of summons form. This waives the spouse’s rights to further notices regarding hearing dates. It also waives the requirement of service of process.
In essence, it acknowledges that the court now has jurisdiction over the spouse. Because this form legally waives rights, it should only be used after consulting with an experienced Muskogee family law attorney.
Consult With An Experienced Muskogee Divorce Lawyer Today
Divorce is difficult. It is a period of high stress. Having experienced legal counsel by your side can help you bypass many of the stresses of divorce and can help you and your children navigate this difficult terrain and move on with your lives.
I am a Muskogee attorney and I have the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help ensure that your rights are well protected throughout the divorce process, so please allow me to help guide your case toward its best possible resolution. Call 918-884-7774 today. I am here to help.