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To Serve My RI Divorce Papers Should I Use the Sheriff or a Constable?

Question on RI Divorce Proceedure

To Serve My RI Divorce Papers Does it Matter if I Use the Rhode Island Sheriff's Department or a Constable?


The legal answer is that your Rhode Island divorce papers must be served by a Rhode Island Sheriff's Department for the County where your spouse lives or a constable licensed to serve family law papers in the county where your spouse lives.  The only other option is when the court specially appoints someone to make service of process by an order of the court.

The more psychological answer from my personal views is that it is always best to use a constable.  This is not to slight our wonderful Rhode Island Sheriff's Departments in the least. However, in a divorce situation I believe it is a better practice to use a licensed if you want your divorce to proceed successfully to its end sooner rather than later.

Let's face it, seeing a fully decked out sheriff's department car pulling up to your house or your work and a deputy sheriff in full uniform to serve your spouse is bound to cause some anxiety even in the best of circumstances.  

Too many spouses receiving papers under those circumstances are likely to feel anxiety, degradation, embarassment, and anger about the way in which they were served. The anger in particular is almost always directed at the spouse who had them served in this way.  

Yet a plain car with a plain clothed constable bringing the papers it isn't so ominous, threatening, or embarassing and isn't as likely to generate that anger.  If you work with your spouse when taking care of the service part of your divorce process, then it is easier to arrange a cautious and respectful service rather than shock to your spouse.  This can minimize or even eliminate the impact this important part of the process may have on your divorce.

You don't start the process of getting honey from the bee by kicking the beehive, right?  So why kick your spouse at the beginning of your divorce process when they may believe you are trying to take something from them.  

In both cases, if you get them angry they can have a nasty sting.


All My Best to You on Your Journey Through The RI Family Court,
Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall - "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach"™  

 As a dedicated divorce and family law attorney for more than a dozen years, I look forward to the privilege of serving your needs.

Call me for your affordable advice session at (401) 632-6976.