There was an article in the news recently from a case in Texas. A couple were married and sometime later separated. Many normal people would simply file for divorce, right? Not this man named Paul Nixon. He decided that he would forge his wife’s signature on divorce documents and get an “uncontested divorce.”
THE CRAZY PART IS...HE ACTUALLY GOT AWAY WITH IT!
At least for a short period of time until his “ex-wife” learned what happened and filed a motion with the court to void the divorce. Once the Court realized what happened, the divorce was voided. But that wasn’t the end of the story for Paul, he was criminally charged with aggravated perjury and submitting fraudulent documents to a court.
It never ceases to amaze me some of the crazy, and illegal, things that people do. You’re probably wondering, could that happen in NJ? The answer is no, not under these circumstances.
In NJ, when you file a Complaint for Divorce, the other party must be served with and proof of service must be submitted to the Court. This proof of service must be either:
1) An affidavit from a sheriff
2) An affidavit from a process server.
The court will not simply accept your statement “yes, I handed the complaint to my spouse.”
The only other way to serve your spouse is to serve them personally. But you’re probably thinking, wait, you just told me that’s not enough. You stating you served them is not enough. But you serving them and them signing an acknowledgement of service is enough.
An acknowledgement of service is a document that basically says, I acknowledge I was given a copy of the Complaint filed against me. You may be thinking, “Kelly, you still haven’t told me why I couldn’t get away with what Paul did.” Well the reason you can’t get away with what Paul did in NJ is because the acknowledgment of service must be notarized.
To get anything notarized, you must present a valid picture identification. Failure to present identification that matches the name on the acknowledgement would be a glaring red flag for the notary. It seems that in Texas, the documents he submitted were not required to be notarized. That’s why it was so easy for him to forge, or get someone else to forge, his wife’s signature.
So, could that happen in NJ? Not unless you know a notary willing to commit a crime.
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