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New Jersey Service of Process for Divorce
The Server

New Jersey process servers are not licensed. Process may be served by the county sheriff, or by a person specially appointed by the court, the plaintiff’s attorney or the attorney’s agent, or by any other competent adult who does not have a direct interest in the action.

Serving the Complaint

In New Jersey, process is a copy of the Summons and a copy of the Complaint.

In most divorce actions either a process server or the sheriff in the county where the person being served resides, will notify the defendant personally. The defendant receives a summons and a copy of the complaint, and the sheriff or process server then completes an Affidavit of Service, which verifies that proper service occurred under the rules of the court.

Delivering the Divorce Papers

In New Jersey, service can be obtained by personally delivering the summons and complaint directly to the individual, or by leaving them at his or her home with a competent family member who is 14 or over, or by delivering a copy thereof to a party who is authorized to receive service of process on the individual’s behalf.

When personal service fails “after a reasonable and good faith attempt,” the defendant may be served by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to his or her home or to a person authorized by rule of law to accept service for the defendant or, with postal instructions to deliver to addressee only, to defendant’s place of business or employment.

If the addressee refuses to claim or accept delivery of registered or certified mail, service may be made by ordinary mail addressed to the defendant’s usual residence. The party making service may, at his or her discretion, make service simultaneously by registered or certified mail and ordinary mail. If the addressee refuses to claim or accept delivery of registered mail but the ordinary mailing is not returned, the simultaneous mailing shall constitute service. Mail may be addressed to a post office box in lieu of a street address under certain conditions.

Return of Service

The server makes proof of service on the original process and on the copy. Proof of service is filed with the court. The proof of service states the name of the person served and the place, mode and date of service, and the person serving process delivers a copy to the plaintiff’s attorney.

If personal service cannot be effected after a reasonable and good faith attempt, it is described in the proof of service.

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