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I finally found my ex-husband and had a process server serve him. When she served the papers he threw them on the ground.

Everett, WA |

I called the county clerk to see if this meant the papers were correctly served and she said it is up to the judge. I am unsure if I need to go back to the judge to see if I need to serve a different way (certified mail) or if he is now considered as being served.

We have not lived together for well over 2 years and live over 2000 miles apart. We also have no property, debts, etc., so there is nothing to disagree about there. There is a child, but he took the child when he left and moved out of state, so child custody is now under the other state's jurisdiction and is not part of the divorce papers. I just recently located him because he hid quite well between the time he left and now.

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Attorney answers 3


He threw it on the ground?

Although I am not licensed to practice in Washington (I may be within the year), I can tell you that in general, one cannot evade service by doing that - or by refusing to touch the papers, or throwing them away without reading them, or any such immature response. The purpose of the service rules is to give someone notice - the opportunity to know that there's a case against them. It sounds like you did that. (The court clerk is not allowed to give you legal advice, and probably wanted to hedge their answer.)

You can have your process server file an affidavit of service saying that they personally served your ex-husband. If he fails to respond within the time allowed by law, you can take a default against him. If he then wants to argue that service was improper, he can try it; and you can introduce evidence that he was, in fact, served properly.

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Thank you!


I agree with the prior attorney.

Although I am not licensed to practice in WA, i have had experience serving people in out-of-state matters (as well as in Oregon, where I practice). The server who served the papers on your spouse, as long as the service was done in accordance with the state's rules, needs only to file the date and time that service was tendered, sign it, and have it turned over to the court. The court will make note of the date of service and enter it into the court record. Then if he chooses not to respond within the time allowed, he is in default and you can proceed accordingly.

Service can be done in many ways and it will likely depend on the means listed. Handing the documents over to the person (your spouse, in this case) is enough. Even if he then threw it on the ground, he still is in receipt of the paperwork and was properly served. Sometimes, people refuse to touch the papers and think that service is not done. There is case-law where the server threw the paperwork in the "wingspan of the party" and that was held to be sufficient service of process. That is an extreme example but it would seem hard for your spouse to argue that he was improperly served if the person handed it to him and he had them in his hands long enough to toss them to the ground.

This answer is provided as a general opinion to a question posted on an internet forum. This does not create in either party the expectation that an attorney-client relationship has been entered into between the original poster and the Law Office of Reid Seino, LLC. Any information provided should not be solely taken as legal advice but in the context of general information. Please seek legal representation for any specific legal questions.


I do practice in Washington. He has been served. Now get an Affidavit of Service from your process server stating that he was personally served on the specific date at a specific location and have the Affidavit filed with the court. If he does not respond or appear, you can move for a default divorce after 90 days. Good Luck

This is not legal advice.

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