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Serving the Defendant in an Uncontested Divorce

After an index number has been purchased and the "Summons With Notice" or the "Summons and Complaint" have been filed with the County Clerk's Office the Defendant (the other spouse, husband or wife) must be told of the case.

If you don't know where your spouse is, ask the Supreme Court Clerk's Office for more information about alternative service.

Get the following papers together to give to the Defendant:

  • photocopy of the Summon With Notice or Summons and Complaint
  • photocopy of the Notice of Automatic Order
  • photocopy of the Notice Concerning Continuation of Health Care Coverage
  • photocopy of the Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage, if you were married in a religious ceremony
  • Affidavit of Defendant

Make sure that the index number is on the top of each document.

 

How to Deliver the Papers

The Plaintiff (the person who started the divorce case) has two options for giving the papers to the Defendant:

  1. If the Defendant will not "contest" (argue) any aspect of the divorce case and will return the "Affidavit of Defendant" signed and notarized, then you can give the papers to the Defendant; or
  2. If you're not sure whether or not the Defendant will contest or will return the "Affidavit of Defendant" to you, the papers must be personally "served" on the Defendant. There is a special procedure to give the papers to the Defendant.

How to Serve the Defendant
The papers must be personally handed to the Defendant but the Plaintiff can't do this. Someone else must do this for the Plaintiff.

  • The papers must be served within 120 days from the date the papers were filed with the County Clerk's Office.
  • The person who is serving the papers must be 18 years old or older.
  • If the papers are being served somewhere in New York State, the person who is serving the papers must be a New York State resident.
  • If the papers are being served outside of New York State, the person can be a New York State resident or be able to serve papers according to the law of that state.

The person who serves the papers on Defendant must fill out the "Affidavit of Service" and return it to the Plaintiff signed and notarized. This is proof that the papers were delivered to the Defendant properly.

 

Next Step

The Defendant is given a chance to respond to the papers that were given.

Learn about the Defendant's Response and what it means.

** This is a general information and may not apply to the county where you're filing your uncontested divorce case. Contact the Supreme Court in your county for more information.

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