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How long does it take after you begin filing for divorce for the divorce papers to be served to your spouse?

Westphalia, MI |

Just wondering how long it will take before the papers will be served. I'm in Michigan.

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Attorney answers 4


The answer to this question depends upon whether your spouse intends to avoid being served. If a person wants to avoid service by moving and refusing the give a forwarding address, they can avoid service for a long time. You can publish the summons in your paper, but that kind of service will not give the court authority to grant some types of judgments that you may need in your case. Most attorneys have methods to track people down and they can discuss how they would approach your case.


The time it takes to get your spouse served is a function of several things:

Who is serving the papers, law enforcement or private service through your attorney?

Is your spouse avoiding service?

Does your spouse have a regular job where he can be easily served?

Do you have to resort to Rule 106 (Texas Rules of Civil Procedure) substituted service, which requires a court order to utilize?

Do you not know where your spouse can be found and are forced to use citation by publication?

These answers to these questions all relate top the answer you seek.

Normally, my process server serves the paper within a few days, unless further court action is required.


When a divorce is filed, a Summons is issued which must be filed with a Complaint for Divorce. The Summons is only good for 90 days, so "the papers" must be served within 90 days of filing of the papers with the court. As a practical matter, the papers are served when your lawyer serves them. This may be by a process server who goes to Defendant's home or place of employment or by certified mail. The problem with service by certified mail is that it requires that the Defendant sign for the papers and if the Defendant is avoiding service, he/she will never sign them. If a process server cannot serve a person after 3 attempts, most courts will allow substituted service upon the filing of a motion requesting this relief.


Hi, it depends upon a couple of factors. If there are interim orders to be signed by the court sometimes it takes several days before these orders are reviewed and signed by the judge. If there are no orders then the papers can be filed and in some instances served the same day. Talk to an attorney for more advice and information. Good luck to you.

Henry Gornbein

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