Some people try to avoid being served with a California Divorce.  The ‘respondent’ (the person being served with Divorce papers) may hide in his/ her residence and not answer the door or he/she may pretend to not be the person that he/she is.  These evasion attempts are futile and frankly silly.

All Divorces require that the respondent be served with the Petition for Dissolution (Divorce documents) after the initial filing has occurred.  The exception to this would be a Publication Divorce wherein the petitioner (the one who files for Divorce) does not know where the respondent is.  This type of Divorce would require a search and publication in order to try to find the missing spouse.

California has rules with regard to service:

  • service by mail is usually for those who are cooperative and will sign the proof of service
  • service for those out of state can be made by mail (as above), by certified mail (the signing of the certified mail card can be used as proof of service) or by service by another adult (as below)
  • service by someone over the age of 18 (not a child of the marriage) or a process server can be made by simply going to the place of residence or work and handing the papers to the designated person; if service is attempted 3 times, and not successful, the papers can be served by a method called ‘substituted service’

The bottom line here is that ‘service’ will be accomplished in most cases.  If it is determined that the person is no longer living or working at the known address and that the person cannot be found, then the petitioner (the person who files for Divorce) can do a Publication Divorce and use the last known address.

At best, the tactics used to evade service only delay the inevitable and fuel anger and resentment.  Since California is a no fault’ state, the reasons for Divorce is not of interest to the courts.  The courts are interested in resolving the issues of the Divorce.  Some example of issues would be spousal support, child support, custody & visitation and division of property and debt.

It is best to allow oneself to be served & continue with the Divorce process.  Once any existing issues are addressed, and the parties are divorced, both people can move on with their lives.

If you have questions regarding the service of Divorce documents or need help with your Divorce, please call our experienced Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Legal Action Workshop 800-HELP-444 (800-435-7444) or visit us at .

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