Have someone other than the sheriff serve your restraining order

After you get a court date for your restraining order, you must have someone give a copy of your court papers to the person you need protection from (the other side in your case). This lets the other side know that a case was filed, what they can do next, and what they can't do (if there's a temporary restraining order). This is called serving papers.

Before you start

If a server doesn't deliver your restraining order papers, the policecan't arrest the person for violating a temporary restraining order (if you have one) and the court cannot grant you a restraining order that can last up to five years.  

You court papers still have to be given to the other side if you still want a restraining order. Even though you don't have one now, the judge can still grant you a restraining order on your court date (court hearing). If you no longer want a restraining order, you don't have to go to your court date. You can also cancel your court date. For more information on how to cancel your court date, get free help at your local Self-Help Center or talk to a lawyer.

How to serve your Request for Restraining Order

  • Choose your server

    If you want someone you know to serve your papers, they must be: 

    • 18 years old or older, and 
    • Not involved in this case (examples: listed as protected person or a witness)

    You cannot serve your papers yourself. You can also hire aprofessional process server or have the sheriff serve your court papers for free. 

    Think about your server's safety. If it might be dangerous for your server to hand papers to the other side, consider asking the sheriff to serve.

  • Know your deadline to serve

    Your server must deliver your papers by a deadline before your court date (hearingdate).   

    To see when your deadline for service is, look at yourNotice of Court Hearing(form DV-109). 

    • The number of days is initem 6 on Page 2. 
    • You must serve the person at least this number of days before your court date(the date in item 3 on Page 1).

    You can always serve before the deadline. 

    If your server didn't serve the other side by the deadline, you will need to reschedule your court date. Learn more about how to reschedule your court date.
  • Give your server your court papers

    You will need to give your server

    1. A copy of all your court papers which will include:

    • Form DV-109
    • Form DV-100
    • Form DV-110, if granted by the judge
    • Form DV-120 (leave blank- this is for the other side to complete if they want to )
    • Form DV-250 (leave blank)

    There will be other forms, if you asked for child custody or support. Check page 2, of form DV-109 to see if the judge ordered you to serve any other form on the other side. 


    2. A partially completed copy of the Proof of Personal Service form (DV-200

    • You should fill out items 1-3 of the form.
    • Your server will complete items 4-7 once the papers are served.
    • After your papers are served, ask your server to give you the completed Proof of Service form right away so you can file the form with the court.
  • Serving the court papers (instructions for your server)

    Once you have given your server a copy of your court papers and form DV-200, ask your server to:

    1. Deliver your court papers to the other side as soon as possible and before the deadline
    2. Complete form DV-200
    3. Return a completed copy of form DV-200 to you so you can file it with the court clerk

    The server may leave the papers next to the person and tell them what they are. For example, the server could leave the papers on the ground by the person and say, "These are important legal papers for you." If you've tried many times to serve the person, and you can show the judge that the person is avoiding (evading) service, you can ask the court for permission to serve your papers another way. Read What if the Person I want to Protection from is Avoiding (Evading) Service? to learn about your options. 

  • Copy and file Proof of Service (form DV-200)

    Once you get the Proof of Service form back from your server,

    1. Make a copy of it.  
    2. Filethe Proof of Service form right away. When you file the form, take both copies (the original and extra copy) to the court clerk. The clerk will stamp and return the copy to you. The copy is for you to keep.
    3. Keep the copyof the Proof of Serviceand a copy of your restraining order (if you have one) with you at all times. Make sure you bring them to your court date, too.

    If you were granted a temporary restraining order (form DV-110),

    once the other side (restrained person) is served, they can be arrested for violating your restraining order.

Prepare for your court date

What's next?

Once you’ve served your Request for a Restraining Order, learn about what to expect at your hearing so you know how to prepare.

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