Divorce is emotionally taxing, and the legal procedures in Texas, such as the “waiver of service,” add complexity. Misinterpreting this family law document can lead to losing important rights in your divorce case. Handling this alone increases stress. Hiring a knowledgeable Texas divorce and family law firm can help in understanding legal nuances, getting fair settlements, and safeguarding your interests. Secure a smoother transition into post-divorce life with guidance from the Law Office of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C.
After the “petition” is filed, and ONLY after the petition is filed, the petitioner can present the respondent (the other spouse) a waiver of service. Anytime someone is sued, including uncontested divorces, they are entitled to notice of the lawsuit. The court will require proof that the spouse has received a copy of the petition and knows a lawsuit is pending.
In comes the waiver of service, also known as a waiver of citation. A waiver of service can be used to avoid the embarrassment or hassle of being physically served. This document is signed and notarized by the respondent and filed with the court. This document tells the court that the respondent has received the petition and that they “waive” being served. Service means that a person authorized to serve papers, known as a process server, officially hands the person the petition for divorce.
In an agreed or uncontested divorce, the spouse agrees to sign the waiver of service. If they do not, you may not have an uncontested divorce. In that case, serving the spouse via a process server would be necessary.
Once you file the petition and waiver (or your spouse is officially served), all that remains is the final decree of divorce. The final decree of divorce is the family court’s order in a divorce and is the final document. It resolves all divorce issues and is typically signed by both spouses in an agreed or uncontested divorce. If not, then the final decree of divorce will reflect the court’s ruling after a trial before the court.
Yes, under the state of Texas rules of civil procedure, your waiver of service form does need to be signed in front of a notary public.
When signing any legal document, including a divorce waiver of service form, it is vital to read the entire document before you sign. A service waiver can have several downsides, and simply using one you find online can be a critical mistake. Using the wrong waiver of service, or one that does not cover the areas you need it to cover, can also slow down the divorce process. It is also always a good idea when dealing with any type of divorce papers to seek legal advice from a qualified and experienced Texas family law attorney.
As mentioned, if you sign a divorce waiver of service, you may be sacrificing your rights without realizing it. You should only sign legal documents after you speak to a Texas divorce attorney. Whether or not you should sign an individual waiver depends on many factors. Some waivers involve nothing more than waiving being served, which is fine as long as you receive the petition and know what is happening.
However, other waivers take away the right to notice of further action by the court. This means the district family court can move forward with the case without further notice to the person who received the waiver, known as the “respondent.” The way to tell the difference is to look for language that says something similar to “respondent waives any further notice of these proceedings.” Such language is a red flag.
If you are facing a divorce in Texas, from the original petition for divorce through issues of child custody, child support, or waiver of service documents, Chris Schmiedeke can help. Our law office takes great pride in the personal service we provide to every client, and we are ready to be the ally you need in this difficult time. Our phone number is 214-989-7375. Give us a call or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our experienced legal team.
I was born in Dallas and spent the majority of my life here. I moved to Denver in the middle of the first grade and moved back to Plano in the middle of the eleventh grade. I graduated from Plano Senior High in 1984 and then attended Richland College and the University of North Texas where a received a Bachelor of Business Administration. From there I attended the Texas Tech University School of Law and was licensed to practice law in May of 1993.