Serve your Answer

Once you've completed the Answer form, you must notify the opposing attorney by formally delivering copies of the form. The court calls this service or serving papers.   

This means another adult, not you, mails a copy of your Answer.

Before you start 

Serving papers by mail mean that you'll select an adult to mail a copy of your Answer to the opposing attorney. This person mailing is your server. Your server must sign a form saying they mailed the papers. You file this form with the court with your Answer, so the court knows the opposing side received a copy. 

How to serve your Answer

  • Choose a server

    You can't serve papers yourself. Ask another adult – server – to deliver the papers.   

    Your server must be: 

    • 18 or over, and 

    • Not part of your case 

    Your server can be: 

    • Someone you know 

    • A professional process server you hire 

  • Figure out when to serve


    You have 30 days after the Summons and Complaint were served to respond. After that, the court can make a decision without your input. 

  • Have your server mail the papers

    Your server mails these papers to the opposing attorney (or self-represented party if the other side has no attorney): 

    • Copy of your Answer 

    • Any other papers you plan to file (except any fee waivers) 

    In the top-right corner of the Answer of the copy to be mailed, the server should write “Mailed on” followed by the date of mailing. Tell your server to note the date they mailed the papers. Your server needs this date to fill out the Proof of Service form. 

    No. There are rules about when you can use certified mail. Even then, it requires getting the other person's signature, which is often hard to do. Use regular (first-class) mail.  

  • Have your server complete the Proof of Service form

    illustration of a paper form with signature

    You can use Proof of Service by First Class Mail (form POS-030).


    It helps if you fill in the top part of the form with the case and court information. Your server can then fill in the information about how, when, and where they mailed the papers. Your server must sign and date the form. 

  • Make copies

    Make two copies of your Proof of Service form. The original Proof of Service (signed by your server) and the two copies are filed with the clerk’s office.

Debt lawsuits

What's next?

Once you’ve served your Answer, you must file the Answer and Proof of Service with the court.

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