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How to Serve a Complaint to Revoke Paternity and Other Forms


    What Papers Do I Have Served?

    The first papers you will have served on (given to) the other party or parties are:

    • The Summons and Complaint (usually just called the “Summons”)

    • 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 a Proof of Service (in front of a notary), AND

    • File the Proof of Service or return it to you to file.

    What Are the Rules for Mailing?

    The server can mail the papers by registered or certified mail with service restricted to the other party and a return receipt requested. This type of service only works if the other party 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 other party this way. Once the papers have been delivered, you will get a green card (the return receipt) in the mail. Make sure the other party signed the green card. Have the person who mailed the papers fill out and sign a Proof of Service (in front of a notary) and give it to you. Attach the signed return receipt to the Proof of Service.

    Remember: If there are two other parties in your case, each one must be served in person or by mail.

    Can the Other Party Just Agree to Accept Service of the Papers?

    Yes. If the other party agrees to accept service of the papers, the other party can sign the Acknowledgment of Service section on the back of one copy of the Summons and give it to the server. With this type of service, only the Acknowledgment of Service portion of the Proof of Service needs to be filled out. Make a copy of the form for your records, and file the original with the clerk’s office.

    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 Find a Lawyer 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.