How Long After Filing a Divorce Petition Are Papers Served?

By Samantha Kemp
Begin the process of your divorce by having your spouse served.

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Once you visit your attorney's office and file for divorce, you may think the divorce process will quickly be on its way. However, there are a few other steps to complete before your spouse can be served and the process of divorce begins.

Initial Consultation

You must allow time for your attorney to draw up the papers after filing your divorce petition. Give him at least two weeks to complete the papers before you worry about when your spouse will be served.


Your spouse must receive the papers to be considered served. You may hire a process server to locate her and have her sign a form stating she received the documentation. You can mail her the forms through first class mail and depend on her signing and returning the acknowledgment form. Send the papers through certified mail and her signature alone on the green postal form will suffice. If all other avenues do not work, you can publish your intent to divorce in a newspaper in her area in substitution of service


Any adult not directly related to the case can serve your spouse. The server may be a friend, relative, police officer or hired process server.

Time Frame

You must serve the papers on your spouse within 120 days of filing your petition for divorce.

About the Author

Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.

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