In New York State (and most of the rest of the country), a marriage is considered a legal partnership between two people. There are a lot of details that go into that legal partnership and there are many benefits for both partners. A divorce is a legal process used to dissolve a marriage, which means there are a lot of legal parts in motion when a divorce is initiated. One of the legal necessities of a divorce is having your spouse served with divorce papers. It sounds simple enough, but there are rules to keep in mind.
When a divorce begins, one spouse is considered to have brought the motion of divorce against the other. The papers for a divorce proceeding are served by the spouse bringing the motion. The court is not responsible for serving divorce papers. That is something the spouse bringing the motion must take care of on their own.
The rules for serving legal papers can vary depending on the legal motion being used. In a divorce, it is acceptable to either serve the papers to your spouse by hand, or by using registered mail with a return receipt. If you try using registered mail but you do not get the return receipt confirming a signature back, then you can keep on trying until you do. But if your spouse will not sign for the papers once, it is probably best to deliver by hand.
Anyone over the age of 18 can serve divorce papers. When the spouse accepts the papers, they sign a Letter of Acceptance that shows that the process was completed successfully. The spouse bringing the motion can serve the papers, or they can have someone they know over the age of 18 do it. But serving divorce papers is not quite as easy as it sounds. The spouse serving the papers can also hire a company to handle the process, and this might be the best way to do it to avoid any problems.
There are times when a spouse absolutely refuses to accept divorce papers under the mistaken idea that if they do not accept the papers, the divorce cannot go through. If there have been several legitimate attempts to serve divorce papers that were unsuccessful, then the serving spouse can publish the divorce announcement in the local newspaper. It is best to consult with your attorney to find out how long the announcement should run, but the announcement acts as your service. You will need to bring the receipt for the ad and ad itself to court to prove the process was done properly.
If you and your spouse cannot solve your differences, then the unfortunate outcome could be divorce. Before your divorce can be heard by the courts, the spouse who initiated the divorce needs to serve papers on the other spouse. There are many ways to serve divorce papers, and there are also safeguards in place in case the spouse getting served refuses to accept those papers.