Should I Sign A Waiver Of Service?
Your spouse has filed for divorce and they have presented you with a document titled “Waiver of Service” asking that you sign it, have it notarized, and return it back to them. However, what does this document even mean? As a general rule, I would advise you against signing the waiver of service. If a waiver is the only document that is presented to you for your signature, this obviously raises some red flags. Reason being, the waiver of service enters your appearance on the case and states that you are waiving your right to be formally served, that you are informally accepting the Original Petition for Divorce by being provided a copy of it, you waive your right to be notified of any further court date(s), and that the case can be taken up in court without you.
Why would this be a problem? If all you are signing is the Waiver of Service without knowing what agreement will be presented to the court, then this is highly advised against. You do not want to sign away your notice rights and then not have a clue as to what type of Final Decree of Divorce—especially the terms—will eventually be signed by the judge. Another reason that signing a Waiver of Service might be an issue is that you have not consulted with an attorney regarding your rights in the divorce and had your questions answered. Even if you ultimately wanted to sign the waiver, you should still meet with an attorney prior to doing so. Questions that always arise: Are you sure you know all of the property and debts; are you sure you do not want to clarify a few issues prior to signing this; are you certain about income for child support calculation purposes; etc. There are a number of issues that need to be worked out prior to signing a waiver of service.
The only way that a waiver of service would be proper is if you have that to sign along with a Final Decree of Divorce. This would ensure that you have been able to review the proposed agreement from your spouse and know what they are trying to propose to the court. Even then, I would still recommend consulting with an attorney and making sure you have all of your questions answered prior to signing it. If you are in agreement and you are comfortable, then signing a waiver of service is okay. The only other option is being served by a process server or constable. If you chose the latter route, then you would need to sign off on the proposed decree or appear in court.
We only typically see waivers of service in agreed divorces where the parties are amicable and working out the terms. If your case is a contested matter and you know that there will be certain issues throughout your case, do not sign the waiver. Bottom line—if you have any outstanding questions about your divorce, meet with a family law attorney as soon as possible. Do not sign the waiver of service until you have consulted with an attorney and seen the proposed agreement and you are in fact in agreement. If your divorce is contested in any way, do not sign the waiver. Contact Guest and Gray Law Firm today.