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Service

What is “Service of Process”?

In Georgia, “Process” consists of the summons and the complaint. Both documents must be served on the defendant in order to initiate a divorce action.

How may the Defendant be served?

In order for service of process to be considered proper, the plaintiff must comply with the procedural rules of the Georgia Civil Practice Act. According to the Civil Practice Act, if the defendant is a known resident of the State of Georgia:

Process must be served personally upon the defendant. In order to be valid, personal service upon a defendant must be made by 1) delivering a copy of the summons attached to a copy of the complaint to the defendant personally, or 2) by leaving copies at his or her dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion residing therein, even though notice of such is not received by the defendant. However, for service made outside the state upon a Georgia resident, the service must be in person to the person served.

O.C.G.A § 9-11-4.

If the defendant is not a resident of Georgia, the following rules of the Civil Practice Act apply regarding serving process upon a defendant:

If the defendant is a nonresident but found sojourning within the state, he may be personally served with process […]. Generally, however, a nonresident is immune from service 1) while in attendance upon a court where he is a suitor or witness or 2) in going to or returning from the court; but this general rule would not apply if the person is in the state for some other purposes, or if the proceeding is not a “new” action.

Id.

  Practice Pointer - Acknowledgement of Service

Service of process may also be accomplished via what is known as “Acknowledgement.” Acknowledgement of service may be accomplished by having the defendant sign a written acknowledgement, in the presence of a notary, that he or she has received a copy of the complaint and that he or she waives all other and further service, including further service of summons. See Jones v. Jones, 209 Ga. 861.