One of the things that keeps coming up when I am helping clients with divorce is explaining when the divorce process actually starts. There is some confusion on this as well as what document to file to let the court know your spouse has been served.
The divorce process does not start when you file your divorce case. When you go to the court and turn in all your papers and pay your filing fee, you will receive a comformed “stamped” copy of your divorce filing. You and everyone else in this world feels like they have filed their divorce and therefore the divorce process has started.
The divorce process actually starts when your spouse is served, not when you file. Everything is hinged off the day your spouse is served. Even the 30 days to file a response or when you want to file a request to enter default. None of these things can occur until your spouse is served.
When you file a lawsuit (which filing for divorce is) you have to give the other party notice. Notice that you have filed for divorce and what you are asking for such as your requests in the divorce Petition.
So three things I want to clear up here.
- The six month waiting period does not start until your spouse is served.
- You can’t file for a default unless 30 days have passed since your spouse was served.
- The Court won’t know your spouse was served unless you complete a proof of service and file it with the court.
These are the big three things to watch out for. And make sure to complete your proof of service correctly. There are several boxes you need to complete and many the person who will be doing the serving needs to complete. I see a lot of people who do this wrong or forget to put the dates and times of service, etc.
I hope this clears up the issues of when the divorce process actually starts. When does it start? When your spouse is served!