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Arkansas Service of Process for Divorce
The Server

Process in Arkansas may be served by the County Sheriff, or any adult over 18 who is not a party to the case. Process servers in Arkansas are not licensed, but normally they carry a $2,000 bond.

Serving the Process

The server delivers the divorce papers - the summons and complaint - together. The plaintiff furnishes the server with the necessary copies of the divorce papers. Service is effect on the individual in a divorce action by delivering the divorce papers to him or her personally.

If he or she refuses to accept, the server leaves a copy at his or her “dwelling house or usual place of abode” with someone there who is at least 14 years of age, or delivers the papers to an agent who is authorized by appointment or by law to receive them.

Service by mail can be made by the plaintiff, or an attorney of record for the plaintiff, by any form of mail addressed to the defendant with a return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the addressee or the agent of the addressee.

Service outside of Arkansas may be made by personal delivery, by mail, as directed “by a foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory or pursuant to the provisions of any treaty or convention pertaining to the service of a document in a foreign country”, or in “any manner prescribed by the law of the place in which service is made in that place in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction.”

Service by Publication requires the publication of a warning order. This means the plaintiff must first make a diligent search to locate the defendant. When mail service is returned or the defendant cannot be found, the court permits constructive service on the defendant by publication. This requires filing an affidavit/sworn statement affirming the efforts made to locate the defendant. The clerk should then issue a Warning Order.

The Warning Order directs the defendant to enter an appearance within 30 days from the date of the first publication of the order. If the defendant does not file an answer within that time given by the court, he/she may be prevented from answering.

Publishing is done in one of two ways: In Forma Pauperis, in which the notice is posted in the courthouse for 30 days, or by publication in a newspaper of general circulation weekly for at least two weeks. Once the publication period has run, the newspaper will mail the plaintiff a “proof of publication” which must be filed with the court.

The server makes proof of service to the clerk of courts within the time limit for the defendant to respond to the summons, either by executing a certificate of service or return contained in the same document as the summons, or by attaching a return receipt to the affidavit.

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