What Does “Service” Mean in a Divorce and How Is It Accomplished?

In a Wisconsin divorce, once the Petition for Divorce is filed, it is necessary to “serve” the respondent with the paperwork.  There are several ways to accomplish service which depends on different circumstances.

  1. If the respondent is unrepresented or uncooperative, service must be accomplished by having a process server (or sheriff) locate the respondent either at home or at work and physically give the papers to the respondent.
  2. If the respondent is represented, your attorney can mail the papers to the other attorney and request that an acknowledgement of service be executed by the respondent.
  3. If you are confident that the respondent will be cooperative, your attorney can send the respondent a letter requesting that he/she come to your attorney’s office, pick up the papers and sign an Admission of Service.
  4. If traditional means of service are exhausted with no avail or if the location of the respondent is unknown, you can serve the respondent by publication.

Proper service is essential.  You may not serve the papers yourself or have a friend or family member serve the respondent.  Improper service will jeopardize your case, so it is vital that service is done timely and correctly.

To schedule a free initial office consultation to discuss your options for divorce and serving divorce papers, please contact us at 414-258-1644 or visit our website for further information.