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Hawaii Service of Process for Divorce
The Server

In Hawaii, divorce paperwork may be delivered anywhere in the state by the sheriff or the sheriff's deputy, by some other person specially appointed by the court for that purpose, or by any person who is not a party to the action and is 18 years or older, or in any county by the chief of police or the chief's duly authorized subordinate.

Serving Process

Like other jurisdictions, Hawaii uses three methods to effect service of process: personal service, substituted service, and service by publication. Personal service means in-hand delivery of the papers to the proper person. Substituted service is any method used instead of personal service. Forms of substituted service vary, but all are intended to offer a good chance that the defendant will actually find out about the proceedings. If other methods of service are tried and failed, a missing spouse may be served by publication, which means publication of a notice in a newspaper.

Service upon an individual requires delivery of a copy of the summons and complaint to that individual personally or in case the individual cannot be found by leaving copies thereof at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion or delivery of a copy to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.

If Service is made outside the State or by registered mail, a certified copy of the order, the summons, and the complaint are served. Service shall be evidenced by an affidavit showing that the required papers were sent by registered or certified mail and by the receipt signed by the defendant and filed with the affidavit, or in the case of personal service, by the return of the serving officer or the affidavit of any other person authorized to serve process in the place where the defendant is found or appointed by the court to make the service.

In all cases, the return states the name of the defendant and the time and place of service and shall be signed by the officer making the service.

Courts prefer that the plaintiff be served personally because personal service is difficult for the defendant to attack legally. Personal delivery of a Summons is prohibited between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on premises not open to the public, unless a judge of the district or circuit courts permits delivery during those hours.

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