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Reasons for service by alternate means

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2023 | Family Law

In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 4.8 marriages per 1,000 people in the country. Most of these people probably never think their marriage will end in divorce. Unfortunately, not everyone will get a happy ending.

While people usually understand the basics of divorce, there is one aspect they often do not consider, and it can lead to some issues. Service of process is when the person who files for divorce serves the other party with the legal documents. Typically, it happens through personal delivery or certified mail. However, there may be situations where the filing party cannot use the traditional means to serve the paper. In such cases, Minnesota law provides for service by alternative means.

Cannot find the other party

One common scenario in which a person may use alternative means of service is when one of the parties to the divorce is actively avoiding service or has disappeared with no known address. In these situations, the filing party may be unable to figure out where the person lives to set up any service.

Unsuccessful attempts

Sometimes, the person may simply be unavailable to receive the papers. The law does require service to involve a person handing over the documents to the receiving party. If the petitioner can demonstrate that they have made diligent efforts to serve the divorce papers through traditional methods but have been unsuccessful, the court may authorize service by alternative means.

Safety concerns

In some situations, safety is a concern, especially when the marriage has documented instances of domestic violence and abuse. If there is credible evidence that attempting personal service could result in harm or danger to the individual, the court may grant permission to use alternative service methods.

Obtaining permission for service by alternative means is not automatic. The party seeking to use this option must file a motion with the court, outlining the specific reasons why traditional methods of service are not viable. The court will then evaluate the motion and may grant permission if it deems the reasons presented valid.