If you have filed a motion to open a child support, paternity, or custody case, it’s then your responsibility, rather than the courts, to provide notice to the child’s other parent. Due to the significance of this type of proceeding, it is no shock that there are strict rules related to how the other parent is served in order to make sure there is full disclosure and to preserve parental rights.
The service requirements for this may vary from one state to another and in between counties that are in the same state. As a result, it’s crucial to contact the county court clerk or a family attorney to figure out the applicable guidelines. If you don’t follow the instructions provided, it may result in the case being dismissed. This means you need to make sure you get it right the first time to avoid having to restart the process.
What Needs to Be Included in the Provided Service Packet
Typically, there are two main documents that have to be included in your service packet. One is a copy of the complaint you have filed. The other is a copy of the summons, which is then issued by the court. If you decide to file a Joint Preliminary Injunction, then you will need to include a copy of this document, as well. Always keep the original documents you have created and deliver the copies. It’s of utmost important you keep the original documents for your records.
When is it Time to Actually Serve the Papers for Child Support?
In the majority of states, you have to serve the child support papers in just 120 days after filing the complaint or motion. If you don’t serve the child support papers properly in this time frame, this will result in a dismissal. If you aren’t able to get in touch with the child’s other parent in this particular time frame, then you can file the declaration with the court and ask the judge to go beyond the 120-day limit.
Who is Allowed to Serve the Child Support Papers?
It is legally required for all child support papers to be served by an adult who is not in any way attached to the case or situation. This means that a significant other and family members aren’t allowed to serve the child support papers. Rather than using someone close to the case, it’s a good idea to hire someone with no interest in the case. A great option is to use the county sheriff. You can also pay a private company to deliver the needed documents.
However, it’s important to note that there are many areas where this is different. There are some courts that require a professional, licensed process server to handle the process of serving all court documents. In any situation, the absolute safest route is to call a professional to handle this delivery. It’s a good idea to check with a lawyer to determine this before you serve the papers.
The Waiver of the Service of the Summons and the Complaint
There are some situations where you may get permission from the court to serve the child support papers yourself if the other parent agrees to waive the formal requirement of service, and they are willing to accept the papers that you deliver. In order to do this, they will have to send in a Waiver of Service of Summons and Complaint.
The Right Way to Serve Child Support Documents
The child support papers are required to be hand delivered to the other parent in the case. The location where this occurs is completely irrelevant. They can be served at work, at home, or while the person is out and about. After the service is finished and the papers have been delivered to the other parent, then the server signs the Affidavit of Service which specifies when and where the documents have been delivered. It also contains copies of the documents included with this service packet. The server or you have the ability to file the affidavit to provide proof of service.
By understanding this, you know what you have to do if you are filing any type of child custody or support papers and you need to deliver them to the other parent of your child. To learn more about how this works in Arizona, contact The Sampair Group today at 623-777-3926.