What Papers Do I Have Served?
The first papers you will have served on (given to) the other party or parties are:
The Complaint to Determine Child Born Out of Wedlock or the Complaint and Affidavit to Revoke Acknowledgment of Parentage
Any other papers you filed to begin the case
Warning! The Summons must be served on the other party or parties within 91 days, or your case may be dismissed.
Can I Be the Server?
No. There are several ways your initial papers can be served, but you cannot be the one to serve them. You can ask a friend or relative to serve the papers, or you can pay your local sheriff’s department, police department, or a process server. Whoever serves the papers must be at least 18 years old and cannot be involved in your case.
What Does the Server Do?
The server must do the following things:
Personally give the other party or parties a copy of your court papers or mail the papers (see the mailing rules below)
Fill out and sign the Proof of Service that is on the second page of the Summons (form MC 01), AND
File the Proof of Service or return it to you to file
Rules for Mailing
The server can mail the papers by registered or certified mail, with service restricted to the Defendant and a return receipt requested. This type of service only works if the Defendant accepts delivery of the papers and if you have a safe address where the return receipt can be mailed.
To serve the papers by mail, have a friend or relative go to the post office and pay to have the papers mailed to the Defendant this way. Once the papers have been delivered, you should get a green card (the return receipt) in the mail.
Completing the Proof of Service
If the Defendant filled out the "Acknowledgment of Service" section
The Defendant may have filled out the Acknowledgment of Service section at the bottom of the Proof of Service. If they did, the server will not need to fill out the rest of the Proof of Service before it is filed.
If the Defendant did not fill out the "Acknowledgment of Service" section
If the Defendant did not fill out this section, then the server needs to fill out and sign the "Certificate of Service/Nonservice" section. This includes filling out the Defendant's name, and the date, time, and address or place of service. Under the subheading "Attachments (if any)," they should fill out the names of all papers served besides the Summons and the Complaint.
If the Defendant was served by mail, be sure to attach the signed return receipt to the Proof of Service when you file it.
What If I Don’t Know Where the Other Party Is?
If the server has tried to serve the other party several times without success, you can ask the judge for permission to serve the party by regular first-class mail or another way. To do this, file a Motion and Verification for Alternate Service.
If the judge allows alternate service, the judge will sign an Order for Alternate Service. Then you can follow the judge’s directions for serving the papers.
If you need to serve the other party by alternate service, consider hiring a lawyer to help you with your case. You can use the Guide to Legal Help to get contact information for legal services or a lawyer referral service in your area.
How Do I Serve the Rest of the Papers I File?
Only the Summons and the other initial papers must be served by someone other than you. After the initial service, you can serve other court papers on the other party or parties. You may serve the rest of the papers by:
Mailing a copy to the other party’s last-known address
Handing a copy to the other party in person OR
Leaving a copy at the other party’s home with an adult who also lives there
Whoever serves the papers must fill out and sign a Proof of Service saying which papers were served.
What Do I Do With the Completed Proof of Service?
Each time you or another server fills out a Proof of Service, file it with the circuit court clerk’s office. Keep a copy of each Proof of Service for your records.