What is the best way to serve my spouse in a divorce or custody action?

May 3, 2022 | By Stephanie H. Winegrad

Olivia Wilde, who shares 2 children with ex-fiancé Jason Sudeikis was served with custody papers while she was speaking on stage about her new movie. Ironically, her co-star in the movie is Harry Styles, Olivia’s current boyfriend. Many are questioning why and how this could happen. First of all, in Pennsylvania and other states there are rules that govern what constitutes good service. In some cases, lawyers attempt to make service by mail, either certified or sending the other party the complaint along with a form to accept service. The other party will hopefully either accept service or hire an attorney who will accept service on the clients’ behalf. However, there are times when clients do not want to wait to see if their spouse accepts service or they question whether their spouse will actually cooperate and accept service. Therefore, the client will authorize personal service of their spouse. Personal service must be made by an adult who is unrelated to the person being served. Service can be in any public place where the process server is legally authorized to be. If the other party is trying to evade service it might be necessary to serve at a place of employment or other public venue to ensure good service. When you see service being effectuated in a public venue where there are other people present, the party might be making a statement but it could also be the only place to serve to make sure the children are not present.

The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.

About the Authors

Stephanie Winegrad - Conshohocken family law attorney

Stephanie H. Winegrad


Conshohocken Family Law Attorney Stephanie is a partner in the firm’s Family Law practice group, and has more than 25 years of experience in family law matters. As a highly skilled and...

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