Oregon Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

No information below should be relied upon as formal legal advice. These answers should not be used in place of a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer.

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How does the process of serving divorce papers in Oregon work?

The divorce begins when the Petitioner serves the Respondent with a copy of the Petition. The primary and legally foolproof way to insure that service is correct (and that the court is satisfied with proper service) is to have copies of the documents physically handed to the your spouse. This must be done by somebody who is at least 18 years old and who is not a party to the divorce proceedings. You cannot hand the documents to your spouse yourself.

There are three common ways to deliver this document to your spouse:

  1. The first is to have either the sheriff or a private process server hand-deliver it. This can cause embarrassment and angry feelings, particularly if the sheriff is used.
  2. An alternative is to have your spouse come into our office to pick up a copy and sign an Acceptance of Service that acknowledges receipt. The Acceptance of Service is nothing more than an acknowledgment that the Respondent received the document.
  3. The third method we sometimes use is to mail the documents to your spouse with instructions to return the Acceptance of Service after having signed in front of a notary.

The second and third options obviously require a large level of cooperation from the person being served, but these are nonetheless common in situations where both parties are in agreement about the outcome and want to conserve time and costs. We will use a private process server unless you tell us otherwise.