Serve your Request for Order

After you file your Request and get a court date, you must let the other side (your spouse, domestic partner, or the other parent) know that there is a hearing. One way to do this is by mail, called mail service. This means another adult, not you, mails a copy of your Request to the other side.

Confirm that you can serve your papers by mail

You generally can have the papers served by mail if:

  • You're the Petitioner (the one who first filed the divorce papers) and your spouse or other parent filed a Response 
  • You're the Respondent in the case 

However, your server must use personal service in any of these situations:

If any of these situations apply to you, your server will need to use personal service instead of mail service.
  • Your spouse or the other parent didn't file a response to the Petition

    If you're the petitioner, your server will need to use personal service if your spouse never filed a Response and your divorce isn't final. If you haven't served your Petition yet, your server can serve the Request for Order using personal service.

  • There's an emergency order or the court ordered personal service

    If you’re not sure if the court ordered personal service, look at the bottom of page 1 of your Request.  See if box 7 is checked or if the judge wrote in Box 8 to personally serve papers. 

Learn how to serve your Request using personal service

How to serve your Request 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 

    • Not part of your case 

    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 16 court days plus 5 calendar days before your court date. 

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

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

    1. Count backwards on the calendar 16 court days (Monday to Friday, not including any court holidays). Your court date is not counted (so it’s day “0”). 

    1. When you get to the 16th day, count back 5 calendar days (these can be weekends or holidays) 

    1. Check what day this is:  

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

    • If it’s a Saturday or Sunday or court holiday, count back to a day that court would be open, that’s your deadline. 

    Your server needs to mail the papers before this date.


    Out-of-State: Mail the papers 16-court days plus 10 calendar days before your court date 

    Outside the United States: Mail the papers 16-court days plus 20 calendar days before your court date 


    If you can't meet the mail service deadline, 

    your server can try personal service. For personal service, your server must hand deliver the papers 16 court days before the court date. Get instructions for personal service.


  • Have your server mail the papers

    Your server mails these papers to your spouse: 

    •  Copy of your Request for Orders (form FL-300) and any attachments 

    • A blank Responsive Declaration to Request for Orders (form FL-320

    • A copy of your Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150) (if you filed one) along with a blank one 

    • Any other papers you filed (except any fee waivers) 

    If your spouse or the other parent has a lawyer in this case, meaning a lawyer filed papers in the case, then your server must mail the papers to the lawyer instead. 

    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

    You can use Proof of Service by Mail (form FL-335).   

    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. 

  • Copy and file the Proof of Service form

    • 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.

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

Serve your request by mail

What's next?

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