How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask ScottyMacEsq Your Own Question
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16332
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
ScottyMacEsq is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

If a spouse files the petition for divorce but does not ever

This answer was rated:

If a spouse files the petition for divorce but does not ever serve the other spouse the papers ( via in person or by officer of the court) what happens to the court case?

ScottyMacEsq : Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.
ScottyMacEsq : Ultimately it depends on whether the spouse COULD serve the other spouse. It's possible that the spouse can get authorization to serve via "publication", but there would have to be a "return of service" on file, as well as authorization. If there is none, then the court cannot grant a divorce.
ScottyMacEsq : The court case generally stays open for up to a year from filing, and if there's no action on the case, it will be put on a dismissal docket.
ScottyMacEsq : If there's no reason given to the court by the petitioner to keep the case open, it will be "dismissed for want of prosecution".
ScottyMacEsq : What that means is that to file again, there would need to be an entirely new petition filed, a new case number XXXXX etc...
ScottyMacEsq : But this is after a period of time (again, usually a year).
ScottyMacEsq : You can contact the clerk of the county and inquire as to the status of the case, if there was ever service of process by publication, etc... and if it has been dismissed or not.
ScottyMacEsq : Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!
Customer: If the spouse could serve, ie lives with the person or sees them regularly, but has decided not to give or show them the papers is there any way the court would grant the divorce 60 days after the filing if the other spouse has not seen or acknowledged receipt of them.
ScottyMacEsq : The court SHOULD not. The only way that the court could is if the defendant waives service, is served, or the petitioner testifies that he/she could not find the person and serves by alternative service of process.
ScottyMacEsq : If there's no waiver and no actual service, then the statement that the petitioner could not find the defendant would be a false statement under oath (i.e. perjury) and would be the basis to undo a divorce decree if it actually occurs.
ScottyMacEsq : Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?
Customer: No, thank you
ScottyMacEsq : If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the timeand effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!
ScottyMacEsq and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you