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What is a Waiver of Service?

by | Jun 29, 2023 | Decree Modification, Divorce, Parenting Plans |

If you’re looking to get divorced or make a modification regarding the current custody arrangements for your child, the process will start with filing a petition in court, which your family lawyer can handle for you. At the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, when we do a petition filing, we check to see if a waiver of service is an option, and if it is, we also make sure there’s a waiver of service included, along with a letter to the other party explaining what the waiver of service means.

When a petition is filed in court, there’s a petitioner (the person who files the petition with the court) and a respondent. The respondent must be given notice that they are involved in a lawsuit under the Texas Laws of Civil Procedure.

This type of notice is commonly known as “being served,” which essentially means a representative of the court hand-delivers a copy of the petition to the respondent. There are a couple of reasons to sign a waiver of service. First, serving another party is costly, and this can be  an additional expense that all parties involved want to avoid. Additionally, being served in person can place the parties in an adversarial position, as the process can be embarrassing and stressful. Signing the waiver of service can spare embarrassment for a party who knows he/she will be served. Signature of the waiver of service means the respondent waives his/her right to be served and chooses not to be served with notice of the lawsuit that he/she is a party to.

As we write in our letter accompanying the waiver of service form, “If you sign the attached Waiver of Service, you are alerting the Clerk of Court you have received a copy of the Petition and you would prefer not to be served in person. This does not prevent you from making an appearance, from hiring an attorney or representing yourself in this matter. This merely saves you any anxiety, discomfort, or embarrassment due to being personally served by a sheriff or an officer of the court, as well as the cost associated with service of citation.”

If you receive a waiver of service, you must read the waiver of service thoroughly, as you would any other legal document before you sign it. Review the document to be sure you understand it and you agree to it completely.

A waiver of service should be a straightforward document that’s simple to review and sign, and your lawyer can always review it for you if you see anything that raises any red flags for you.

These decisions will largely depend on what your relationship with your ex or soon-to-be-ex is like. If you have a reasonably cooperative relationship and you believe that a negotiation or other kind of alternative dispute resolution process is possible, you might not position yourself in the same way that you would if you believe you’re headed for litigation.

Regardless of whether you’re a petitioner or respondent, you should contact your family lawyer if anything in your situation raises questions for you. At the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, we can provide you with the assistance you need in matters regarding your divorce or modification. An initial consultation will help us determine what your best option is from the range of possible options, and how to get started in moving forward with your case.