It is possible to avoid having a spouse formally served with the divorce documents?

Yes. Service of process can be avoided by your spouse or your spouse's lawyer voluntarily filing an appearance. Often lawyers will contact one another to determine whether he or she will file an appearance to avoid the necessity of service of process. The decision of whether to take a cooperative approach and send a copy of the petition for dissolution of marriage to your spouse or their attorney is usually made based upon whether or not the spouse may try to avoid service if he or she is informed of the divorce filing prior to service.