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Can You Contest Service Of Process In Florida?


Service of process is a crucial component of filing for divorce in Florida. In fact, service of process is required even when filing for child custody or modifying an existing court order. Essentially, service of process refers to serving the Respondent (the party responding to the petition) with a copy of the petition.

After serving their spouse with divorce papers, the Petitioner must file written proof of service affirming that the Respondent was served with the petition. However, it is not uncommon for Petitioners to make mistakes when serving the Respondent, which may give the Respondent grounds to contest service of process.

The Petitioner may even forget to serve their spouse with divorce papers at all. If you are the Respondent who was not correctly served (or not served at all), contact an Orlando divorce attorney to help you contest service of process in Florida.

How Does the Service of Process Work in Florida?

When filing for divorce, the Petitioner must complete two forms:

  1. A summons; and
  2. A Process Service Memorandum.

After completing the two forms, the Petitioner will have to file them along with the divorce petition and any accompanying documents with the Clerk of Court. After the Clerk signs the summons, the Respondent must be served with the Process Service Memorandum and divorce papers.

When the service of process is complete, the person who delivered the divorce papers to the Respondent will file a proof of service with the court. Service of process can be a confusing process, which is why many spouses tend to make mistakes.

However, making mistakes could give grounds to contest service of process, which is why it is advisable to be represented by a skilled attorney when filing for divorce in Florida.

How Does a Spouse Serve Their Spouse with Divorce Papers in Florida?

Under Florida law, there are generally two options for serving the Respondent in family law cases:

  1. Personal service
  2. Mail, email or hand delivery

Contrary to popular belief, “personal service” does not refer to the Petitioner serving the Respondent with divorce papers themselves. Instead, personal service refers to using another party – typically, private process service or the sheriff’s deputy or officer – to deliver court documents to the Respondent.

Can the Respondent Contest Service of Process?

Yes, Florida law allows the Respondent to contest service of process if there are valid grounds to do so. However, just because the Respondent can contest service of process does not mean that they can avoid being served divorce papers or delay the process.

The Respondent has a right to contest service of process when they reasonably believe that they were improperly served. For example, if a process server simply leaves court documents at the doorstep or delivers them to an unsupervised underage person, the Respondent may be able to contest service of process in Florida.

If you are considering contesting service of process, it is vital to consult with an experienced attorney. Schedule a case review with our family lawyers at Donna Hung Law Group to discuss your particular case. Call 407-999-0099 today.