Court Processor Serving Paperwork

Hi Cristin,
The court processor has been to my Ex house twice to serve her and she hasn’t been there. I read that the court processor has to make at least 3 attempts.
On the 3rd attempt can the processor do question #1 below?

My questions:
#1. If a family member is at her house can the processor leave the petition for divorce with that family member?

#2. or will I have to send the paperwork by certified mail?

You’ll need to keep trying to personally serve her. Substituted service won’t be effective here.

Hi Cristin, I wrote in the wrong area and Hope I’m in the right area now. My question is, we live in the same place and our kids will start school next week…Can I serve her at our residence or at her job. I don’t want to upset the girls and maybe do it at her job outside so that her co-workers aren’t around. I heard you say by mail as well…since this is what she wants…just don’t want to keep doing If she’s not around…thanks…also going to law facilitator, do I take tax forms along with stubs…trying to be thorough

Hi Tommy,

The location where your wife is served is legally irrelevant, meaning that the judge won’t care if you serve her in a coffee shop, at work, or at home - it doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is that she’s served by someone at least 18 who isn’t you.

In addition, while it’s not legally relevant, you should be aware that the way you initiate a case can have a significant impact on how the case ultimately proceeds. Family law is one of the most sensitive and human areas of law, which means that even if feelings aren’t legal issues, they’re very real and present in divorce proceedings. Serving her compassionately and with dignity is a way to start this difficult process in a respectful manner. It’s not unheard of, especially since you both want this divorce, to TALK to her about how she wants to be served. It doesn’t have to be a big production or a surprise. She just needs to get the documents.

It’s probably a good idea to bring your last 2 years’ of tax returns and last 2 months’ of pay stubs to the facilitator’s office if you’re seeking assistance with your financial disclosures.

Hi Cristin, that was a long morning…a couple of questions: what is meant by health care not paid by insurance? Charitable contributions… is that like giving to my church? Also on line 14 of form FL-150, installments… are they the items that are paid monthly? Car payment, not rent…what are others.

Hi Tommy,

Healthcare not paid by insurance: copays, medications, etc.
Charitable contributions: giving to church is one example. Think Salvation Army, Make a Wish, SPCA, etc.

You should review my video on FL-150:

Thank you so much was trying to find it. Your site is the best, and again thank you for your help.

And yes I was watching that video…

One more question… looking at box ® not understanding… do not add the amounts in a(1) (a) and (b)?.. those are the property tax blanks… but add everything else?

I’m not quite sure I understand your question. My best guess is that you are referring to page 3 of FL-150, item number 13.r. If that is correct, if you’re filling out the form online (which I highly recommend), the form will automatically add up the expenses, so you’re reading too much into the form. If you’re doing it manually, you do NOT add a(1)(a) and (b) because that would be a double dip - you’ve already provided the amount under 13(a)(1). In other words, 13(a)(1) = 13a(1)(a) + (b).


I was hoping someone might help. I’m in the UK and my wife is in California. I’m filing for divorce from a distance through Santa Clara court. How do I serve papers? Can I do the same process in your video but from the UK? I’m sure my wife will accept the papers and sign the form and send it back. Can I use my Father in the UK as the name on the form?

Many Thanks,

Hi Claire,

For international service, person really is always best. That said, if your wife signs FL-117, you should be just fine. And yes, anyone who isn’t you and is an adult (which definitely includes your father!) is permitted to serve the papers.

Question #2:
I have not served the other party the original Divorce petition within 60 days (served him 3 months after case was first filed). So, is the service defective, if so do I have to refile and resubmit the petition again? Thank you!

Even though the petition was served after 3 months, I still have court day (initial family law status Conference) and the court didn’t dismiss or reject the case. Does not rejecting it mean the delayed service was waived?

If the only issue with your service is that it was done 3 months after filing, that does not make the service defective. If there are other issues, you would not refile your petition. You would simply re-serve the petition and summons properly.

Many counties (you didn’t specify, so I have to be general here) will set automatic hearings such as an initial family law status conference date. In other words, it’s done through the computer system and not the result of someone reviewing your specific file details and deciding to set a hearing date. It is unlikely that your hearing date has any relationship to whether or not service of the petition was valid.

In general, status conferences, which can also be called case management conferences in some counties, are the equivalent of an annual physical at your primary care physician’s office. The judge is just checking in on the status of the case to see what needs to be done to move it forward. The judge isn’t going to make orders related to the specific issues in your case.

After #14 on FL-150, list installment, now #15 no attorney at the moment… don’t write anything, now do I sign and date or leave it blank? At the bottom of the page? And I’ll be done… just need to get copies to file… thank you

For FL-150, if you don’t have an attorney, #15 would be completely blank - no need to enter any information or sign it.

I filed the papers with court, and I’m suppose to serve her. The woman at the counter says I have 30 days, but they had a family emergency. So not sure what to do. Still want to serve papers, do I have to refile with court to give her ample time to respond? Or can I still just serve what I have. I did this 2nd week of December. We have no property and just want to be fair and work together, still be able to serve
and not make it a surprise. At the moment the girls live with me because she wanted to move out. She’s removed everything in her name here, and I have no problem with girls seeing their mom like she would have with them seeing me.

You can serve your spouse even after the 30 days.