What Is a Waiver of Citation in a Divorce Case?

By Mike Broemmel

The start of a divorce case in all 50 states involves a two-prong process. First, a petition for divorce is filed. Second, the divorce petition is served, or formally delivered, to the spouse not filing for divorce. All states permit the non-filing spouse to waive service of the divorce paperwork, if she so desires. Although each state has its own process through which a party to a divorce may waive service, there are some common characteristics.

Purpose of the Citation

The citation, called a summons in some states, serves a crucial function in a divorce case. As a practical matter, the citation notifies a person that his spouse has filed for divorce. From a legal standpoint, the service or delivery of the citation on the non-filing spouse brings him under the jurisdiction of the court. The law requires that a court obtain jurisdiction over a person before it may issue any order affecting his person or property.

Process for Waiving Service of Citation

Despite some minor variations from one state to another, the process for waiving service of a citation is simple. The court clerk maintains a waiver of citation form. The waiver form states that the defendant, or respondent, in a divorce case was given the petition and other paperwork associated with the case by the plaintiff, or petitioner. The waiver advises that the defendant voluntarily enters her appearance in the case and submits to the court's jurisdiction. The defendant signs the form, typically in the presence of a notary public. After signing, the form is returned to the court and filed by the court clerk, concluding the waiver process.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Effect of Waiving Service of Citation

Waiving serving of the citation allows the court to begin issuing orders that affect the interests of the defendant. The defendant cannot complain at a later date that the court does not have jurisdiction over him because the sheriff, or some other duly designated individual, did not serve divorce papers on him.

Failure to Waive Service of Citation

The failure to waive service of the citation requires the sheriff, or another duly designated individual, to serve the petition and related documents on the defendant on the plaintiff's behalf. Generally, the court cannot proceed until this is accomplished.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Serve Divorce Papers in Texas
 

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Divorce a Person Out of the Country

Divorcing someone who does not live in the United States can be a little like threading a needle in a hurricane -- very difficult, but not necessarily impossible. The divorce process is the same no matter where your spouse lives; it depends on the laws in your state. Serving him with a copy of your divorce petition is the challenge, and service is required by law in all states to begin your proceedings.

What Happens After You File for an Uncontested Divorce in Georgia?

An uncontested divorce in the state of Georgia requires the agreement of both spouses as to property division, spousal and child support, and visitation. Once both spouses sign off on the Martial Settlement Agreement, the judge may approve the divorce without any further action by the parties. If a final hearing is required, only one spouse appears before the judge to obtain the judge's signature on the divorce decree, after which the divorce is final.

Can the Opposing Party File for Decree of Divorce?

An opposing party in a divorce case is called the respondent, because he responds to the initial petition that begins the divorce process. Some states require a complaint for divorce rather than a petition. In that case, the opposing party is called the defendant. The respondent, or defendant, can file for his own divorce decree by filing a cross-petition for divorce, also sometimes called a counterclaim. When a respondent files his own cross-petition he might have to pay a filing fee, but initiating his own divorce case allows him to present his side of the story in greater detail than is allowed by simply responding to his spouse's paperwork.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

The Inability to Serve Divorce Papers in Texas

It's frustrating when the respondent in a lawsuit is dodging process, especially in a divorce case. Ordinarily, a ...

What Happens If Divorce Papers Go Unsigned?

During the divorce process, the court and individual spouses’ attorneys ask both parties to sign agreements, petitions ...

Can a Person Get Divorced Here in the Unites States if His Wife Is in Mexico?

Divorce courts in the United States can hear cases only if they have jurisdiction over the parties. You may file for ...

What if Your Spouse Refuses to Be Served Divorce Papers in NY State?

If you are seeking a divorce in the state of New York and your spouse refuses to receive the papers, you may still ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED