Serve your Resposive Declaration

After you file your Responsive Declaration (form FL-320), you must have someone deliver a copy of the papers to your spouse or the other parent. This is called serving papers.

Before you start

Serving means another adult, not you, mails or hands a copy of your Responsive Declaration to your spouse. This person is your server

After delivering the papers, your server must sign a form saying they mailed or handed the papers. You file this form with the court. 

Choose whether to use personal service or mail service 

If your server mails the papers it's called mail service.

illustration of service by mail

If your server hands them the papers it's called personal service.

Illustration of giving papers to a server who then gives them to the other party

Unless the court ordered something different, your server can deliver your Responsive Declaration by mail or by personal service.

Serve by mail only if you can still meet the deadline

Whether you choose mail or personal service you must meet a deadline

You need to file and serve (mail or hand deliver) your Responsive Declaration at least 9 court days before your court date. A court day is a day the court is open (Monday to Friday, not including any holidays).

If your server mails your papers, they should do so well before the deadline. To make sure other side receives the paperwork in time, your server should mail your papers at least 5 days before the service deadline. If they live far away, your server should mail it even sooner.

How to serve your Responsive Declaration

  • Choose a server

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

    Your server must be: 

    • 18 or over, and 

    • Not part of your case 

    Your server can be someone you know. You can pay someone to serve papers, called a process server.

  • Figure out the deadline to serve

    Unless the court orders a different time to serve, your server should deliver the papers at least: 

    • 9 court days before your court date.

    A court day is a day the court is open (Monday through Friday, except court holidays).

    If your server is mailing the papers, they should mail them at least 5 days before the deadline to ensure that the person receives the papers on-time.


    Take out a calendar.   

    Find your court date (it’s listed on the first page of your Request). Don't count that day (it's day "0").   

    1. Count backwards from your court date on the calendar 9 court days (Monday to Friday, not including any court holidays or other day the court may be closed).

    1. When you get to the 9th day, stop, this is your deadline to serve. 

    Your server must deliver the papers by this deadline.

  • Have your server mail or deliver the papers

    Your server mails or hands these papers to your spouse or the other parent: 

    • Copy of your Responsive Declaration and any attachments 

    • Any other papers you filed (like an Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150)  (except any fee waivers) 

    If your spouse or child's other parent has a lawyer, the server you must mail or hand deliver the papers to their lawyer instead.  

    If serving by mail, tell your server to write down the date they mailed the papers.

    If personally serving, have your server write down the date, time, and address where they handed them the papers. Your server needs this date to fill out the Proof of Service form.


    No. Certified mail 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

    • If your server mailed the papers, you can use Proof of Service by Mail (form FL-335). 
    • If your server personally served, you can use Proof of Personal Service (form FL-330)

    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 or delivered the papers. Your server must sign and date the form. 

  • Copy and file the Proof of Service form

    a member of the public showing documents to a court clerk
    • Make a copy of your Proof of Service form.  

    • File the original and copy with the court where you filed the papers. The court will stamp and return the copy. 

    • Keep the copy of the Proof of Service form for your records.   

Respond to a Request for Order

What's next?

Once you’ve served your Responsive Declaration, learn about what to expect at your hearing so you know how to prepare.

success alert banner:

Have a question about Request for Order?

Look for a "Chat Now" button in the right bottom corner of your screen. If you don’t see it, disable any pop-up/ad blockers on your browser.