Serve your request for visitation

After you file your request for visitation and get a court date, you must have another adult, not you, mail a copy of your Request and the Notice to the child's guardian (or parent if you are the guardian). This is called serving papers by mail. The person who mails it is the server. The server must mail the papers at least 15 days before the court date.

How to serve by mail

  • Choose a server

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

    Your server must be: 

    • 18 years old or over
    • Not someone who is a part of the case (called a party) or who is entitled to receive notice of the hearing

    Your server can be someone you know or a professional process server you pay. 

  • Figure out the deadline to serve

    Unless the court orders a different time to serve, your server must mail the papers at least 15 days before your court date.

    Take out a calendar and find your court date (it’s listed on the first page of your Notice). 

    1. Count back 15 calendar days, including weekends and holidays. Your court date is not counted (so it’s day “0”). 

    •  If it’s not a holiday or weekend, that’s your deadline. 

    • If it’s a Saturday, Sunday, or court holiday, keep counting back until you get to a day that court would be open. That’s your deadline. 

    • When you get to the 15th day, check what day it is:  

    Your server needs to mail the papers on or before this date.


    In another county: Mail the papers at least 20 days before your court date.

    Out-of-state: Mail the papers at least 25 days before your court date. 

    Outside the United States: Mail the papers at least 35 days before your court date. 

  • Have your server mail the papers

    Your server mails a copy of your

    •  Petition for Visitation and any attachments 

    • Notice of Hearing

    to the child's guardian (if you're the parent) or the parent with the visitation order (if you're the guardian), and to the child if they are 12 years old or older.

    Tell your server to write down the date they mailed the papers. Your server needs this date to fill out the Proof of Service form. 

  • Have your server complete the Proof of Service form

    The Proof of Service by Mail is on page 2 of the Notice of Hearing.

    It helps if you fill in the names and addresses of the people who will be served by mail.

    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 and return it to you. 

  • Copy and file the Proof of Service form

    • Make a copy of your Notice of Hearing with the Proof of Service portion filled out (both pages).  

    • File the Notice of Hearing with the original Proof of Service portion and the copy with the court where you filed the papers. The court will stamp and return the copy. 

    • Keep the copy for your records.

    File the Proof of Service at least 5 court days before your hearing.
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