Serving a Respondent Who Resides in Mexico
This article explains how you serve a family law respondent who lives in Mexico.
Yes. If the respondent is in Texas (for business, to visit, etc.), they can be personally served with the court papers by a constable, sheriff, or private process server. Typically, this is much easier than attempting to serve the respondent in Mexico.
Yes! The respondent can sign a waiver of service, so that you don’t have to go through the process of officially serving them. However, waivers must be signed in front of a notary. So, the respondent must either go to a notary in Mexico or go to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, where notary services are often available.
The Hague Service Convention was drafted to simplify and standardize the international service process. Mexico is a signatory to this convention and it is the preferred method for serving a party in Mexico.
NOTE: The Hague Service Convention does NOT apply if you do not know the address of the party that needs to be served.
You must have your petition translated into Spanish.
Request an original citation or summons from the court clerk where your case was filed.
Have the citation or summons translated into Spanish.
Fill out the trilingual Spanish-English-French Request for Service Abroad form available on the Hague Conference website here: https://www.hcch.net/en/publications-and-studies/details4/?pid=6560&dtid=65
Send an original and copy of the English version and the translated version of the petition/complaint, citation, and Request for Service Abroad to the Mexican Central Authority. The contact information for the Mexican Central Authority is available here: https://www.hcch.net/en/states/authorities/details3/?aid=267
After sending the appropriate documents, you’ll need to wait for a response, which can take several months. Typically, the Central Authority will send a “return of service” to the District Clerk where you filed the case, so you may need to periodically check with the District Clerk to see if they have received anything.
If you don’t know the address of the respondent, you cannot do service under the Hague Service Convention. If you are dealing with a family law case, you may be able to do service by posting or publication.
Read this article to learn more about service by posting: Service by Posting (when you can’t find your spouse in a divorce without kids).
Read this article to learn more about service by publication: Service by Publication (when you can’t find the other parent).