Personal Service of Process in Default Divorces come with significant benefits compared to Service by Publication.  A default divorce is a divorce that is obtained without the participation of the defending spouse.  Sometimes this happens because a spouse just refuses to participate.  Other times a default occurs because a spouse cannot be located and must be served by publication.  A default is designed to allow a person to get divorced without being held hostage by the other spouse, but whether or not property can be distributed is going to depend on service.

Service of Process is the term used to describe the official method of delivering legal papers to a party to a lawsuit.  Actual service on a party is required to allocate the assets and liabilities of a married couple as part of a divorce proceeding.  When you can’t locate a party for service or they continue to avoid service, Tennessee provides for service by publication where a notice is put in a paper or other publication notifying people of the divorce.  However, this is considered constructive service and not actual service.  Thus, when there is service by publication all the court can do is grant you a divorce and use of your property.  So, for example, if your spouse has a pension through the government, you must have actual service and not constructive service if you would like the court to grant you any part of that pension.

Default is a complicated process and is not recommended for pro se litigants or persons using paralegals to assist then in a pro se fling  It is very easy to create a large mess, and defaults can be difficult even for seasoned attorneys who do not work regularly in the area of divorce.  If you think you may have a default situation, even if you don’t have much assets, it is best to use a divorce attorney to get you the best and smoothest divorce possible.

Complicated divorce issues?  Call divorce attorney Morgan Smith to schedule a consultation (615) 620-5848.   Offices in Music Row, Nashville, Tennessee.   Attorney Morgan Smith practices divorce in Middle Tennessee, and primarily in Davidson, Sumner, Williamson (Franklin), and Wilson County.  Attorney Morgan Smith has most recently been listed by Expertise as one of the best divorce lawyers in Nashville and has received a 10 Best attorney award for four years in a row from the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys



For more information on service of process, check out our article on using private process servers: