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Is it possible to serve your own spouse with your divorce papers?

Even though your marriage is clearly heading for an inevitable divorce, neither you nor your soon-to-be ex-spouse is ready to move out of the home you share. If the two of you are civil, living together until your divorce concludes might not be a bad idea. This is especially true if you have children.

When you are ready to file for divorce, though, you must serve divorce paperwork on your spouse. This gives your husband or wife a fair opportunity to respond. Nevertheless, even if you and your husband or wife are living under the same roof, you cannot serve your spouse divorce paperwork yourself.

Maryland law requires a third party

According to Maryland Courts, you have a legal obligation to serve your spouse with your divorce complaint, summons and any other papers you file with the court. Still, to comply with state law, you need some help from a third party. Indeed, only the following individuals can serve your divorce paperwork:

  • A sheriff
  • A private process server
  • A friend or relative who is at least 18 and not a party to your divorce

It is important to note that the sheriff’s office and private process servers are likely to charge a fee for serving divorce paperwork. You might not have to pay an adult friend or relative, however.

You might be able to use the mail

If you think your soon-to-be ex-spouse is likely to accept the paperwork, it might be possible to serve him or her by mail. This requires the assistance of an adult who is not a party to your divorce, though. That is, an independent adult must send the divorce paperwork by certified mail, and your husband or wife must acknowledge receipt in writing.

Ultimately, even though it can be a pain to serve divorce paperwork legally, doing so eliminates unnecessary delays in the divorce process.

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