He threw it on the ground? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYL5H46QnQ
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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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.
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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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