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Georgia Service of Process for Divorce
The server is not licensed, but must take a 12-hour certification class and successfully pass an examination. Process may be served by the sheriff in the county where the action is brought or where the defendant is found, or by a deputy or marshal, or by any citizen appointed by the court who is not a party to the action and is 18 years or older.
The respondent may waive service of process when both the plaintiff and the defendant agree to the divorce, in which case both sign an acknowledgement of service and consent to jurisdiction. Otherwise, the clerk issues a summons, which is served, together with the petition for divorce.
Unless the defendant acknowledges service - and then waives formal service of process - he or she must be served by a sheriff in his or her county of residence or by a process server.
The sheriff or process server delivers to the defendant a copy of the summons and a copy of the petition for divorce. The summons gives the defendant 30 days to reply to the petition. The sheriff or process server then completes a sheriff’s entry of service, which gives the particulars of the delivery and certifies that it happened.
Service by Publication
When a spouse disappears, the spouse who wants to end the marriage must make a good faith effort at locating him or her. After this is done unsuccessfully (as is usually the case) the petitioner can ask the court for permission to deliver service by publication. The petitioner must conduct what is termed a diligent search, checking all the likely places where the missing partner may be found. After that, he or she prepares an affidavit of publication and diligent search. The affidavit of publication, when approved by the court, permits the petitioner to advertise a notice informing the missing spouse of the action. If the missing spouse fails to respond, the petitioner can proceed with the divorce as an uncontested action.
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