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How do I serve the respondent for a Restraining Order ?

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Recently updated on May 8th, 2024 at 12:36 am

In the California legal system system, whenever one party initiates a restraining order it needs to inform the other party. That process is called serving the respondent.

Under the California law there are multiple ways in which the other party can be served.

What is personal service in California?

Personal service means that someone, not involved in the case and typically over 18 years old, physically hands the restraining order papers to the individual whom the order is against (the respondent). 

This method ensures that the respondent is officially notified about the legal proceedings and the contents of the documents.

Step 1: Pick Someone to Deliver Your Papers

Choose a person to deliver your court papers to the other party. This person is called a server. They should be at least 18 years old and not involved in your case or protected by the restraining order. Remember, you cannot give the papers yourself.

Step 2: Instruct Your Server to Deliver Court Papers

Give these guidelines to your server:

  1. Before delivering the forms, write down which forms you're carrying, including the form's name and number. Check form DV-200 for a list of these forms.
  2. Identify the correct person you're serving by asking for their name.
  3. Hand the papers to the person. If they decline to take them, place the papers nearby without needing the person to touch or sign them. It's fine if they tear them up.
  4. Completely fill out form DV-200 and sign it.
  5. Submit form DV-200 to the court or provide it to the person seeking the restraining order for them to submit.

Step 3: Provide Evidence to the Court

The court needs evidence that the papers were delivered correctly. If your server did the job well, make sure they fully complete and sign form DV-200. The person you're restraining doesn’t need to sign anything.

Take form DV-200 to the court immediately and file it in your case. This data will go into a database used by the police for restraining orders.

If the sheriff or marshal served your papers, they might use a different form as proof, not DV-200. Ensure a copy is filed with the court and that you keep a copy for yourself.

How does the Sheriff Serve your Request for a Restraining Order?

To ask the sheriff to deliver your legal documents, you need the other person's address. If they're in jail, the sheriff will serve them. But if they're in a California prison, the prison staff does this, not the sheriff.

Here's what to do:

1. Fill out form SER-001, "Request for Sheriff to Serve Court Papers."
2. Gather all your court papers and give the completed form SER-001 and copies to the sheriff.
3. Hand over your papers to the sheriff in person or electronically, following their instructions.
4. Wait for the sheriff to return paperwork after delivering or attempting to deliver your forms.

If the papers were served:
An officer will complete a Proof of Service form, showing the court that the other person got the documents.

If not served:
The sheriff will fill out a form saying they couldn't serve and provide the dates and times they tried. This form might be called a "Declaration of Due Diligence."

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