How do you serve divorce papers on your spouse?
What is service?

Service is the process of delivering court documents on the other party after they have been filed in court.

You can serve your documents by hand, by post or on your spouse’s lawyer. Use the post when you are almost 100% certain that your partner will sign the acknowledgment of service form and return it to you. If not opt for service by hand. Keep in mind that you cannot serve the documents personally, it has to be served someone who is over 18 years of age, like a friend or professional server.

When do you need to serve?

When you’ve made a joint application for divorce things are pretty straight forward. You don’t need to serve divorce documents on your spouse as you have applied for a divorce together. However, if you have made a sole application you have to serve documents on your spouse within 28 days. If your spouse is outside Australia, you have 42 days within to serve the documents.

What documents do you need to serve?

You need to include:
– application for divorce
– acknowledgment of service/divorce
– copy of the brochure “Marriage, Families & Separation”
– any other documents you have filed with the court

Make sure the documents are served on the right person. Where the person serving the documents knows your spouse, the court considers this enough proof of identity. If this isn’t the case, a picture of your spouse will have to be provided or the process server will have to ask your spouse some questions to confirm his/her identity.

Acknowledging service

After the process server has established your spouses’ identity, they need to ask your spouse to accept and sign an acknowledgement of service (divorce). If they do not accept service, your process server can lay it down in front of them and mention that he/she has been served with the divorce application and mention the date of the hearing. If you cannot locate your spouse you have to apply to the court for substituted service.

It’s a good idea to seek some legal advice to clarify any doubts you may have. If you have any questions you need clarifying on serving documents on your spouse feel free to send me a message

Links to Process Servers:



Anne-Marie Cade’s Bio

Hi, I am Anne-Marie. I am also a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner / Nationally Accredited Mediator, Certified Divorce Coach, High Conflict Coach, Parent Coordinator and founder of Divorce Right.
I have created a revolutionary new way for clients to heal and get over divorce or break-up. I am passionate about family and relationships and I work with clients to empower them to improve communication, manage conflict and reach a peaceful, amicable separation, so they can successfully co-parent together. I incorporate mindfulness practices into my coaching and mediation sessions so my clients are able to get more centered and grounded and become more mindful about the decisions they make.
This unique method helps clients manage the conflict, re-frame their relationship with their partner and finalize all the paperwork so they can move on to the next chapter of your life. I believe that this approach will ensure a positive outcome for the family. I am currently working on my soon to be released book “Peaceful Divorce, Happy Kids.”

I offer 1-1 coaching programs, group coaching, online courses, workshops, and mediation services.
If you or someone you know needs assistance during divorce you can organise a complimentary 15 minute chat here.