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Arizona Service of Process for Divorce
Service of process may be made by a sheriff, a sheriff's deputy, or a private process server registered with the clerk of the court. A private process server must be at least 21 years of age. The server may not be a party to the action, nor can they be an attorney or an employee of an attorney involved in the action. A private process server registered in one county may serve process anywhere in Arizona.
Applicants must pass a written examination and complete 10 hours of continued education every 12 months.
Serving the Process
The server delivers the divorce papers - the summons and the complaint - together. In a divorce, where the service is on an individual, delivery can be made in person, or by leaving the copies at the recipient’s residence with someone other than a minor who also lives there.
Valid service can also be made on the recipient’s attorney or other authorized agent. If service is upon a minor under 16 years old, copies must be delivered to their father, mother or guardian. In the absence of anyone fitting this legal description, anyone living in the same residence as the minor or having care and control of them can receive service.
If the service is accepted, proof of service is filed in the form of an endorsement by a sheriff's deputy or affidavit of a private process server.
The plaintiff may waive service. Waiving service does not necessarily waive the right of objection to the venue or the jurisdiction of the court. When a recipient waives service, the server files a proof of the waiver. In lieu of accepting service of a summons, a person can simply appear in open court, or file a responsive pleading. An appearance or a filing means the summons was duly served.
Service must be made within 120 days of filing. The court can set a new deadline for effective service, particularly if the plaintiff can demonstrate a good reason why process has not been served, such as if the subject has absconded.
When the recipient resides abroad, the 120-day deadline does not apply.
When a person cannot be located, or has avoided receipt of service, service by publication permits publication of the summons in a newspaper published in the county of last known residence, once a week for four successive weeks.
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