Service is a requirement so that the other party is notified of the pending application for divorce. If you and your spouse have made a joint application for divorce it’s not necessary to serve your spouse with any documents. But if you are making a sole application for divorce you are required to have the application personally served on your spouse. You cannot serve the documents on your spouse yourself. Service can be done by hand or by post. You can serve the documents by post only if you are confident that your spouse will sign and return the “Acknowledgement of Service (divorce)“ receipt to you. Always remember to record the day you posted the documents to your spouse. If you think that your spouse will not sign the Acknowledgement of Service receipt it is best to have a professional process server carry out the service for you by hand.
The divorce application asks for your spouse’s address for service. There are many cases where one party will not accept the application for divorce or go out of their way to make the process harder. Sometimes the other party may go off the radar and make it hard for you to locate them. This could be a frustrating situation to be in. Where you have taken all reasonable steps to serve the documents on your spouse and you are still having trouble, you have two options. You can apply to Court for an order of Substituted Service or for a Dispensation of Service.
Substituted service allows you to serve the court documents on a third party (eg. your spouse’s lawyer) where the court is satisfied that they will bring the documents to the attention of your spouse.
Dispensation of Service
Dispensation of service is where you don’t have to serve the documents on your spouse if the court is satisfied that you have taken all reasonable steps to locate him/her and you have met with no success. This order is granted only in exceptional circumstances.
Where you have applied for Substituted Service or the Dispensation of Service you will have to attend the court hearing. This is usually scheduled on the same day as the divorce hearing to save you time. When you attend the court hearing, take your copy of the service forms with you. You will also be required to provide an affidavit to court that explains all the steps you took to locate your spouse.
Being in a situation like this can be overwhelming so it’s good to seek some legal advice to clarify any doubts you may have. If you have any questions you need clarifying on serving documents on your spouse feel free to send me a message.
Tips on finding a missing spouse:
• Do a search on the social media sites that you think he/she maybe on. There maybe photos of places he/she visits or frequents that you can use to track him/her down.
• Do a Google search and also check online directories.
• Check with relatives and friends who may pass on the information you are looking for or ask them if they will contact him/her for you.
• Check with past employers, it’s worth a try!
• Do a search at Land Titles for property records.
• You can also use a private investigator? Do they frequent a particular restaurant, bar, gym?
Links to Process Servers:
PROCESS ALL-OVER – https://processall-over.com.au/
NETWORK PROCESS SERVICE – https://www.networkpro.com.au/
Author bio – Divorce Right Team – Shenaia Nanayakkara
We create practical and useful resources to guide you through your divorce process. Our mission is to change the face of divorce and create peace in families. We have created a revolutionary new way for you to heal and get over your divorce or break-up. This unique method helps you manage the conflict, re-frame your relationship with your partner and finalize all the paperwork so you can move on to the next chapter of your life.