How Do I Serve the Divorce Papers To My Spouse

Mar 15, 2016
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Do you want to get a divorce, but you’re not sure how to start the process? One of the first steps is serving divorce papers. In Ontario, there are a number of rules and regulations that govern how you can serve divorce papers. Read on to learn more information.

What Does “Serving Divorce Papers” Mean?

When you serve someone else with papers, you have officially notified that individual that a court case has launched. In the event of divorce, you’re telling the person that you want to start divorce proceedings.

The word “serve” is simply a fancy way of saying “to give or send someone notice that a court case has been launched.”

Why Serving Divorce Papers Is Important

“Serving divorce papers sounds like it adds time and effort to what’s already a difficult process,” you might say. “Is it really necessary?”

The answer to that question is “yes.” Serving divorce papers are a way to show that the other party is aware of the legal proceedings. It’s not fair to the other spouse if you’ve launched divorce proceedings and he or she has absolutely no idea.

How Do I Go about Serving My Spouse?

Ontario’s lawmakers have enacted legislation regarding how one spouse can serve another spouse with divorce papers. There are a few methods, which makes it easier for spouses who want to get divorced.

You can mail a copy of the documents to your spouse’s lawyer. If your spouse doesn’t have a lawyer at this time, you can mail the documents directly to him or her.

The law also allows you to use a courier service. A courier service is a company that delivers documents and packages quickly. The courier service can deliver the documents to your spouse’s lawyer, or if your spouse doesn’t have one, directly to him or her.

Another way to serve documents is to use a document exchange. A document exchange is a digital platform in which someone can upload a document and a lawyer can download it and acknowledge receipt. Under Ontario’s law, you can serve a document through a document exchange to your spouse’s attorney. If your spouse is a member of a document exchange and doesn’t have a lawyer, you can serve him or her directly through the exchange.

Yet another method of serving divorce papers is to fax them to your spouse’s lawyer. Let’s say your spouse doesn’t have a lawyer, but he or she does have a fax machine. You can fax your spouse the documents directly.

The province’s legislators understand that many people today communicate via email. That’s why email is an acceptable way to serve divorce papers, as long as the other spouse consents or the court orders it. You can email your spouse’s lawyer, and if he or she doesn’t have one, you can send it via email to your spouse directly.

What If My Spouse Is Avoiding Service of Documents?

Sometimes, one spouse doesn’t want to get divorced. He or she will do anything to avoid receiving served documents, including leaving the province (or even the country).

What can you do in cases like that? The court understands this situation. A judge can order something called “substituted service.”

“Substituted service” refers to another way of serving documents aside from the procedures listed above. The judge will decide exactly how your spouse should be served if he or she has avoided being served with divorce papers.

Choose a Legal Professional to Guide You through Divorce

An experienced divorce lawyer can help you serve divorce papers to your spouse. Galbraith Family Law has years of experience in assisting clients with cost-effective and amicable divorces.

Galbraith Family Law is a certified Collaborative Practice, and has been named the top firm in Barrie multiple times. Our legal insights have also been featured in the Globe and Mail, as well as Lawyers Weekly.

Click here to contact us, or to schedule a consultation. Or you can call the local office listed at the top of the page.

About Brian Galbraith

Brian Galbraith is the owner and founder of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation. Brian is known in the legal community for his commitment to efficiently practicing family law using technology and streamlining the divorce processes.