Service of the papers is a key step in the divorce process and every state has its own regulations about how that service happens. In some states, the Sheriff’s department or a process server must serve papers. In Maryland, you have a few other options.
Understand the legally permissible means of service to ensure that you are compliant with the law.
Sheriff or process server
The traditional solution for serving divorce papers, or any court papers, is a process server or the local sheriff’s department. Sometimes there are fees associated with the service, so call ahead to confirm the cost, if any. Make sure you pay by check and get a receipt to keep a record of the costs associated with the case.
Any adult over the age of 18
While the laws prohibit you from serving your spouse personally, anyone else who is over the age of 18 can do it for you. Remember that they must fill out the proof of service form for the court at the time of service as well. That confirms that your ex was properly served and notes the date and time when it happened.
The courts permit certified mail for service, but a third party must mail the documents. Choose someone over the age of 18 because they must fill out the proof of service form. Keep the signature card from the mail as well and provide both to the court.
Improper service could delay your case or result in dismissal. Understand the process to ensure your compliance.