Can I Serve Divorce Papers in Georgia by Mail?

Question: I want to divorce my husband because I think he's having an affair with a friend of mine and he is mean to my daughter, his stepdaughter. I want to know if I can serve him the divorce papers by mailing them to him.

My husband is always emailing my friend and I caught him texting her after I went to sleep the other night. That happens so much that I hired a private detective to follow him and he took picture of them going into a cabin in North Georgia and coming out about 3 hours later. I know he has a secret Facebook account and I noticed that they are always communicating; I mean they send messages late at night when I'm asleep and in those messages, he calls me a bitch. When I asked him why he keeps contacting her he says he doesn't and that he barely knows her.

And if that's not bad enough, he calls my daughter nasty nicknames like “big butt” and he even said that she looks like a “horse or something.” This is terrible because the girl is only 11 years old. So now she hates him and wants to leave the house and live with my former husband, who lives in Buckhead and is a jerk.

We live in Sandy Springs and he works for a car dealership in Roswell and I work for a dentist in Dunwoody.

So now I'm writing to a divorce lawyer to see how he can be served with divorce papers because it's getting to be unbearable and I told him that if he doesn't change that I'm leaving. And since he isn't even trying to change, I need a divorce. Hopefully, it will be an uncontested divorce.

W.H. in Sandy Springs, Georgia

Answer: To initiate a divorce in Georgia, you cannot do it by simply mailing the other party divorce papers. The other party to a divorce must be properly served with the papers in accordance with Georgia state law.

The county you live in will determine how service must be made. For example, in Fulton County, the Fulton County Marshal’s department usually serves the legal papers. So, if you are bringing a divorce action in Fulton County, a Fulton County Marshal will serve the other party with the divorce action.

In other counties, like Forsyth County or Cherokee County, for instance, the sheriff's department serves divorce papers. So if someone wants to begin a divorce action in Forsyth, then the Forsyth County sheriff's department would serve the papers, whereas if the parties live in Cherokee County, then the Cherokee Country sheriff's department would usually serve the other party.

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