In Georgia, there are three ways to properly serve your spouse with notice of your divorce. First, if you feel that your spouse will accept service of the Complaint, then we can mail the paperwork to your spouse and ask him or her to acknowledge service. According to O.C.G.A. § 9-10-73, your spouse can sign an Acknowledgment of Service form in front of a notary. By signing the Acknowledgment of Service form, your spouse is swearing under oath that he or she received a copy of the Complaint for Divorce. Your spouse would then send back the Acknowledgement of Service and it would be properly filed with the court.
According to O.C.G.A. § 9-11-4(c), there are two other options to serve your spouse – either by Sheriff or a private process server. We only recommend service in one of these manners if it appears unlikely your spouse will not acknowledge service because service of both the additional costs involved and the potential adverse reaction that they can cause. Unfortunately, when your spouse is unwilling to cooperate, these methods become required in order to advance your case.
If one of these two methods must be employed, we generally recommend service by the Sheriff. Currently, the Sheriff only charges $25.00 to serve a lawsuit making this option extremely cost effective when service must be perfected by an individual.
Unfortunately, some people will dodge service by Sheriff’s deputy or the Sheriff is unable to perfect service for some reason. In these types of cases, we recommend using a private process server to effectuate service. Depending on the county in which the divorce is filed, the process server is either permanently appointed or needs to be specially appointed. If the process server is permanently appointed by the Superior Court, then he or she can serve your spouse almost immediately because he or she has an Order from the Court allowing them to serve any party in any case that is filed in the Superior Court in that county. Most counties in Georgia, however, require process servers to be specially appointed. If the process server needs to be specially appointed, a Motion is filed with the Court and if the Motion meets with the Judge’s approval, he or she will sign an Order permitting service by that process server. Unfortunately, your spouse is unable to be served until the judge signs the Order. The costs for having a private process server vary from case to case and depending upon the efforts required to locate and serve a party so unfortunately there is not a set price for service.