Serve your Request for Order and Emergency Order

After the judge makes temporary emergency orders, you file your Request for Order and get a court date, you must let the other side know. You do this by having another adult, not you, hand a copy of the court papers to them. This is called personal service or having someone personally served

Before you start

Temporary emergency orders must be personally served

Look at item 7 on Page 1 of the Request for Order (form FL-300). If the judge checked box 7, then the emergency orders were granted. You must have the papers personally served. If this box was not checked, you may be able to have the papers served by mail.

How to serve a Temporay Emergency Order and a Request for Order

  • Choose a server

    You can't serve papers yourself. Ask another adult – a 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 

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

    • A professional process server you hire 

    The sheriff charges to serve papers unless you have a fee waiver. 

  • Figure out deadline to serve

    Read item 4 on Page 1 of the Request for Order (form FL-300). If this item is checked, the judge ordered a specific deadline for you to serve the order.

    If the judge did not write in a different deadline, your server must hand the papers to the other side at least 16 court days before your hearing. 

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

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

    1. Count backwards on the calendar 16 court days (Monday to Friday, not including any court holidays). Start counting with the hearing date (it’s day zero).   

    1. Stop when you get to the 16th court day. That’s your deadline.  

    Your server needs to hand-deliver the papers on or before this date. 


    Your server should deliver the papers as soon as possible. 

  • Have your server deliver the papers to the other side

    Your server must find the person and hand the papers to them by the deadline.  

    Your server hands them: 

    • Copy of the Temporay Emergency (Ex Parte) Orders (form FL-305)

    • Copy of your Request for Orders and any attachments 

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

    • Copy of any other papers you filed, like the Declaration Regarding Notice and Service but not any fee waiver forms

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

    If the other person won’t take the papers, your server may leave them by the person and tell them what they are. For example, your server can leave them on the ground next to them and say, "These are important legal papers for you."


    If your spouse or your child's other parent has a lawyer in the case then your server must hand the papers to the lawyer instead. 
  • Have your server complete the Proof of Service form

    A person filling out a form.

    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 served the papers. Your server must sign the form

  • Copy and file the Proof of Service form

    members fo the public waiting in line to talk to the clerk
    • Make a copy of your Proof of Service form.  

    • File the original and the copy with the court where you filed the papers at least 5 court days before your hearing date. The court will stamp and return the copy. 

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

Temporary emergency orders

What's next?

Once you’ve served your Temporary Emergency Order and Request, learn about what to expect at your hearing so you know how to prepare. If you asked the judge to make a decision about child custody or visitation, you will also need to go to mediation.

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Have a question about Child custody/visitation?

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