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Vermont Service of Process for Divorce
The Server

The county court authorizes process service in Vermont. Anyone over 18 years old, who is not a party to the case, is legally able to serve papers.

A sheriff or deputy sheriff, or a constable or other person authorized by law, may make service of all process, as can “some indifferent person” specially appointed by any superior judge, or a judge of the court to which the papers return. This provision excludes process served by mail or a notice and request sent pursuant by waiver of service. Divorce papers may be deposited in the mail by the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney. Special appointments to serve process are made freely when substantial savings in travel fees result.

Serving Process

The summons and complaint are the divorce papers and they are delivered together.

Personal service may be effected upon an individual by delivering the divorce papers to the defendant personally or by leaving the papers at his or her house or place of abode with a responsible person living there, or by delivering the papers to someone authorized by law to receive process, “provided that if the agent is one designated by statute to receive service, such further notice as the statute requires shall be given.”

The court, on motion showing that service cannot be made with due diligence, may order service to be made by leaving a copy of the summons and of the complaint at the defendant's dwelling house or usual place of abode, or to be made by publication, if the court deems publication to be more effective.

Where service cannot with due diligence be made personally within or outside the state, service of the divorce papers may be made by mail upon a person by delivery to him or her outside the state by registered or certified mail, with restricted delivery and return receipt requested.

Upon a showing made by verified complaint or affidavit duly filed that service cannot with due diligence be made, the court shall order service by publication.

The order directs publication once a week and at least seven days apart for two or more successive weeks in a designated newspaper or newspapers of general circulation reasonably calculated to give notice to the defendant. The order also directs the mailing to the defendant, if an address is known, of a copy of the order as published.

The first publication of the summons is within 20 days after the order is granted. Service by publication is complete on the 21st day after the first publication. An affidavit that publication has been made is then filed in court by the plaintiff.

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