Personal Service & Divorce in Florida

by Susan from St. Petersburg, Florida, Pinellas County

How do I proceed with personal service of my petition for dissolution with dependent or minor children?


Just trying to understand what personal service means.

Is there a form I need to use to request personal service (of my petition from 12.901(b)(1)?


Answer to Florida Divorce Question

Dear Susan,

"Personal service" means that the documents you are filing with the clerk of court must also be handed to the Respondent (the other party -- your ex to be) by a person.

In Florida that person may not be you or a private individual.

The person in personal service must be a process server or a deputy sheriff.

The cost for service of process is usually $40., that amount could vary between counties, and could vary between private process servers and sheriffs.

If the person that you are serving lives in the same county as you; the clerk of court will usually forward the court documents to the process server for you. The fee still applies, and is separate from and above your filing fee.

And, yes, there are forms that must be provided to the process server. Summons, Personal Service on an Individual, Form 12.910(a); and Process Server Memorandum, Form 12.910(b).

The Summons explains to the other party that they are being sued; and that the other party has 20 days to respond. The Process Server Memorandum provides additional information to the process server so that the server can successfully place the court documents in the hands of the other party.

The instructions for the Summons, Personal Service on an Individual, Form 12.910(a), state in part:

Personal service is required for all petitions, including petitions for modification. You cannot serve these papers on the other party yourself or by mail or hand delivery.

Personal service must be made by the sheriff’s department in the county where the other party lives or works or by a private process server certified in the county where the other party lives or works.

In many counties, there are private process servers who, for a fee, will personally serve the summons and other documents that require personal service.

You should look under "process servers" in the yellow pages of the telephone book for a list of private process servers in your area.

You may use a private process server to serve any paper required to be personally served in a family law case except a petition for injunction for protection against domestic or repeat violence.


Remember, every document you file with the clerk of the court must also be served on the other party. Think in threes - one set of documents for the clerk of court; one set of documents for the other party; and one set for your records.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Personal Service & Divorce in Florida

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Service in Delaware
by: Andres

Hi, Thanks for sharing the previous info regarding personal service. I live in Broward County Florida, but she lives in Wilmingon DE. Do I still have to use a process server or deputy sheriff? If so... Do I just find the sheriff's department address from Wilmington DE and send the documents to them? They will know what to do?

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