Step 3. Service of process
After you file your petition, your spouse will have to be served with a copy of your petition. Being served means giving the papers to your spouse to let him know that you have filed for divorce and that s/he needs to come to court if s/he wants to contest it or be involved in it. The whole point is that you give your spouse “notice” of the divorce, which just means that s/he knows that you have filed for divorce from him/her. If you do not know where your spouse is, there are other alternatives. If you are having trouble serving your spouse, it is highly recommended that you get a lawyer. To find one in your area, visit our ND Finding a Lawyer page.
You do not have to serve the papers on your spouse yourself. You can contact the local sheriff’s office to find out exactly how to get someone to serve your spouse. Often the sheriff’s department can serve your spouse themselves. You may also be able to get a constable or a private process server to serve your spouse. Do not attempt to serve the papers yourself if your spouse has ever been abusive to you.
You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?