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Options for serving a copy of a divorce petition to your ex

When you decide that it is time to file for divorce, you might wonder what various parts of the process are like. One thing you might wonder is how you will have to let your soon-to-be ex know that you have legally filed for divorce. In Nebraska, this is known as notice. There are three options for doing this.

One way is to let the County Sheriff serve the paperwork. This isn't a free service, so you will usually have to pay for it unless a judge has noted that you can file your divorce In Forma Pauperis. When you opt to have the papers served this way, you will have to let the Sheriff know where your ex can be found. Nobody else can be served the papers since this requires personal service. If you don't know where your ex is or if the Sheriff has to go out more than once, the cost may increase. This is an option regardless of where your ex lives.

Another option is by voluntary appearance. This means that your spouse will sign a copy of the divorce complaint in front of a Notary Public. He or she will give this back to you and your lawyer will file it with the court.

If neither of these options are viable, the third option comes into play. This option is service by publication. This means that you will place an ad in the newspaper for one day per week for three weeks, but the newspaper must be one that is considered a legal option in your county. You have to sign an affidavit saying you don't know where your ex is. By using this option, you aren't able to get alimony or child support. The judge can only handle basic matters like awarding you property, giving you custody of the children, and ending the marriage.

Serving your ex is only one step of many when filing for divorce. Making sure you understand each step can help you to remain protected throughout the process.

Source: Legal Aid of Nebraska, "Divorce Handbook" accessed Mar. 11, 2015

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