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Avoid These Things When Serving Divorce Papers

Serving divorce papers is never a fun task. Emotions run high in these situations, and the recipient of a summons to court for divorce proceedings may be so upset that they project their anger on the messenger, which in this case is you. Mitigate the risks of serving an angry husband or wife by avoiding these things:

Aggressive tone or body language

When serving papers for adversarial proceedings, it is always best to approach the target calmly and in a non-threatening manner. Use a casual tone of voice when addressing the target, speaking slowly and intentionally when informing them of your purpose. Avoid body language that may be perceived as hostile, such as:

  • Clenched jaws or fists
  • Grimacing
  • Standing too close
  • Touching
  • Sudden movements
  • Large, grandiose gestures

Keeping your demeanor positive, yet firm and authoritative is a fine balancing act that only the best process servers have mastered.

Service in front of children

Children should never be burdened with the problems of adults, especially when that problem is their parents’ divorce. Avoid personal service in front of anyone for divorce proceedings, especially children. Opt for times when the target is likely to be alone, such as on their lunch break from work.

Serving anyone you know

Serving process in a case you are a party to is illegal in Michigan, but serving process on someone you just happen to know is a gray area. Best practices dictate that process servers avoid serving any target that they know personally, even if it’s just an acquaintance. This avoids conflict of interest issues later on.


Never lie about who you are when attempting to identify a target. This includes lying via electronic communication such as through email or social media, but also in person. Impersonating a police officer, government official, or package delivery driver is never acceptable when serving process, but what about wearing some other type of disguise or carrying a prop? Even though Hollywood makes it seem like process servers are masters of disguise, reputable servers will not engage in deceptive behaviors when doing their jobs. Wearing a disguise increases the chances of angering the target and makes your role seem questionable. All forms of deception should be strictly avoided while serving process.

Serving divorce papers is an unpleasant, but necessary task for process servers. You can ensure divorce proceedings are as expedited as possible by serving relevant parties quickly and in compliance with all relevant laws. Remaining calm and cordial keeps everyone involved in serving divorce process safe and eases tension during a stressful time for the target. For Detroit’s best private process servers, call Accurate Serve at (313) 385-3703 today!