Serve guardianship papers by mail

After you file your Petition and get a court date, you must have another adult (called a server) mail a copy of your Petition and the Notice of Hearing to the child's family members and certain government agencies. 

Before you start

Make sure serving by mail is allowed

Some people, like the child's parents, must have a copy handed to them in person. Other family members or government agencies can have a copy mailed to them. Your server can mail copies to the: 

  • The child's grandparents on both sides
  • The child's siblings who are at least 12 years old (including half-siblings) 
  • Parents or guardians of any siblings under 12 (or another adult who the sibling lives with that has custody)
  • Anyone taking care of the child (if this person does not have legal custody of the child)

If the person who wants to be the child's guardian is not related to the child, the server must also mail a copy to the Department of Social Services, Director of Social Services at 744 P Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

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 or over and can be: 

    • Someone you know

    • The county sheriff (in most, not all, counties)

    • A professional process server you hire

  • 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”). 

    1. When you get to the 15th day, check what day this is:  

    •  If it’s not a court 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. 

    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 these papers to the person or agency you have to notify: 

    • A copy of your Petition for Appointment of Guardian (form GC-210 or 210(P)) and any attachments 

    • A copy of your Notice of Hearing

    • A copy of the Comparison of Guardians With Other Nonparent Caregivers (form GC-207-INFO/JV-352-INFO)

    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

    A 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 or agencies 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 to you. 

    • Keep the copy for your records.

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


What's next?

Before the court date, someone appointed by the court (an investigator) will contact you.

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