What You Need To Know About Serving Divorce Papers in Minnesota
Filing motions and attempting to serve someone with papers can be difficult. Here is everything you need to know about serving divorce papers in Minnesota.
Beginning the Divorce Process
The first step in the divorce process is serving a spouse with a summons and petition. This action ensures that the spouse is aware of the petitioner’s intentions to divorce them and also informs them of what the petitioner is asking for from the courts. This step, while seemingly simple, can get held up in a series of ways.
Serving Divorce Papers
One of the most important things to note about serving divorce papers is that an individual should not serve them themselves. Serving papers themselves may seem like a simple way to save money in an otherwise costly process, however, it could end up costing the individual more in court fees later on. In Minnesota, it is up to a third party to serve the divorce papers; no one who is associated with the case is allowed to serve documents in civil matters.
Related: How to File for Divorce in Minnesota
Once the summons has been issued and date stamped by the clerk of court, it is important to keep the process moving. If the papers aren’t served within a specific time, the summons could end up being withdrawn.
Who Can Serve the Papers?
Some sheriff’s departments may offer to serve papers. There are also process servers that you can pay to serve the papers. It is important to note that it is commonly not a flat fee that you pay for this kind of service, rather every time they attempt to serve the papers and fail, more fees will be added. If ultimately they are unable to serve the papers, they will have to sign a proof-of-service document.
Luckily, hiring an experienced legal professional will help you avoid all of this as the lawyer will handle it for you.
What to Do After the Divorce Papers are Served?
In Minnesota, once the spouse has been served with divorce papers, they have 30 days to file their response with the court. This response typically goes one of two ways: the spouse can agree with the relief that is being requested, or they can disagree with it. They may even file a counter-petition. If they do not respond at all, the spouse seeking the divorce may request a default hearing given that the diverse papers were adequately served.
What If an Individual Cannot Find Their Spouse?
If an individual cannot find their spouse, they must inform the court of how they tried to locate them and their search results. If an individual finds themselves in this situation, it is important that they write everything down and save the mail that comes back as “undelivered”. This can be shown in court as evidence that an attempt to locate and contact the spouse was made. The individual should ask the court for permission to publish a notice of the divorce in the courthouse or the newspaper, also known as a Motion to Serve by Publication or Posting. It is important to note that an individual has 60 days to either locate their spouse and serve them or to file a motion to Serve by Publication or Posting. If this is not possible to meet this deadline as a result of one’s specific circumstances, they will need to register for an extension. Otherwise, the court will dismiss the case, and the individual could have to start over again.