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Category: Family Law
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Experience:  30 years as a family law lawyer .
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I filed for divorce in King County on December 28, 2011. As

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I filed for divorce in King County on December 28, 2011. As I'd expected I have more questions. I was told when I filed that since my spouse hadn't signed the documents, what I'd done was to file a disputed divorce

My first question is how soon do I have to try to serve my estranged wife with papers? The front of the Order Setting Domestic has a notice to the petitioner that appears to list two options for service. I'm afraid that I don't understand the difference being discussed and don't get what the ten day time frame is referring to as the "later of" events.

If my estranged wife agrees to signing a joinder form, is it still necessary to have a third-party process-service performed? If it isn't what is the procedure to make her signing the joinder valid to the court?

What is considered a reasonable attempt to serve documents in person? I believe this has to be done before any attempt at serving by mail can be done. Also if my efforts at serving in person fail, what is the process for serving by mail?

Is it allowed for me to try to get my living-apart spouse to tell me when she'd be available to receive process-service? Is it required for me to find out when a good time would be?

How is it determined that my estranged spouse has not responded? Is it that I don't hear back from her by certified mail or process service within 20 days after the papers were served on her? If I served her by mail, would the date of service be the day the postal service made the delivery available to her or a different date?

In the event I don't get a response, how do I ask the court to find the respondent in default? This I believe would cancel some of the deadlines set for the contested divorce? How is that handled? I remember seeing something about a courtesy notice being sent to the presiding judge. I need to know what else would need to be done.

For the process service, I believe it has to include the following copies of documents:

Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
Order Setting Domestic Case Schedule
Family Law Handbook.

Is that everything?

I've used my current Washington address as the place I'll receive service. Can another adult in the household receive documents for me? I understand that the place I receive such things doesn't have to be my residence? Is that still true if I have moved out of state?

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 5 years ago.

RayAnswers :

Thanks for your questions and good afternoon.If she will not sign joinder here you go back to clerk and pay service fee.The sheriff or constable then serves her with a copy of the divorce.If you do this you need to go back and take copies when you go to pay the service fees.

RayAnswers :

She can sign joinder here or a return of service to avoid having to serve her.

RayAnswers :

Otherwise you serve her and there is service and return .

RayAnswers :

Here are all the forms involved either way.

RayAnswers :

If you have to serve her there is the summons and the return from the sheriff after she is served.

RayAnswers :

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