Do I have to serve my spouse divorce papers?

serve divorce papers

Regardless of what state you live in, individuals seeking a divorce must file a petition and serve their spouse with divorce papers. In Tennessee, individuals are required to serve their partner with divorce papers as it provides their partner with notice of the impending divorce. If the dissolution of your marriage is imminent, contact a qualified Shelby County, Tennessee Divorce Lawyer who can help you navigate the divorce process. 

Who can serve divorce papers to my spouse?

There are several different ways an individual can serve their spouse divorce papers. Individuals can have anyone who is not involved in the divorce serve the necessary legal documents to their spouse. It is important to serve a spouse divorce paperwork within the right timeframe to give them formal notice of the divorce. Whoever an individual has enlisted to serve their divorce paperwork must personally hand them to that person’s spouse. To serve divorce papers, individuals may enlist the help of:

Friends and family

Individuals can have their friends or family members act as process servers. It is fairly common for individuals to have someone they know deliver divorce papers as it can save them a great deal of money. As long as the person serving the divorce papers is not involved in the divorce, they may serve a spouse’s divorce papers.

Professional process server 

Individuals who do not want to get their friends or families involved in their divorce hire a professional process server to serve their spouse. A process server will locate your spouse and serve them with divorce paperwork. Professional process servers services are not free and it may take a couple of attempts to serve a spouse if they are evading or hiding to avoid being served. This method could get on the pricey side if a spouse makes it hard for a process server to locate them.

Sheriff’s Office

For a fee, individuals can have the sheriff’s office serve their spouse’s divorce paperwork. Similarly to a professional process server, a sheriff’s office will charge more for each attempt they make. A spouse must be located within the sheriff’s office jurisdiction.


In several states, divorce papers can be served through the certified or registered U.S. Postal Service. In Tennessee, individuals can serve their partner through mail as long as their partner agrees to it and signs an acknowledgment of service.

If you need help with the dissolution of your marriage, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our skilled and knowledgeable team members who can help you successfully file a petition for divorce and serve your spouse with divorce papers. Our firm is committed to helping our clients end their marriages the right way.