Step 3: Give the Other Person a Copy of the Court Forms

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California law requires that the person being accused of abuse be given formal notice that the legal process has been started. This is called "service of process." Opens new window

It is very important that you make sure the other person gets their copy of the court forms in the right way.

To view a short video called “Service of Process”, click here. Opens new window

To read a brochure about "Service of Process," click here. Opens new window


How to serve court forms:

Copies of the documents you have filed with the court can be "served" Opens new window (given to the person who is being accused of abuse) in two ways:

  • A person over 18 who is not connected with the court case can give the forms to
    the other party in person. This is called "personal service." Opens new window 

    You MUST use this way to serve the forms DV-100, DV-105, DV-110, or DV-125. They cannot be sent by mail.
  • A person over 18 who is not connected with the court case can mail the forms to
    the person to be restrained by first class mail. This is called "service by mail." Opens new window 
    This can be used to serve the forms DV-120, FL-150, FL-155, DV-130, and other
    forms needed for this case.

Service of Process checklist:

What needs to be served?

A copy of all of the forms you filled out and filed with the court. (These would include the "Request for Order" (Form DV-100), the "Temporary Restraining Order and Notice of Hearing" (Form DV-110) plus other forms as appropriate).  You must also serve:

  • A blank Response to Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order 
    (Form DV-120) Opens new window
  • A blank Restraining Order After Hearing (Form DV-130) Opens new window
  • A blank Proof of Service (in Person) (Form DV-200) Opens new window

Who needs to be served?

The person being accused of abuse.

When do the papers need to be served?

For Personal Service: at least 15 court days (days the court is open) before the court hearing.

What happens next

The person who serves the court forms must file another form with the court that shows they served the court forms to the right person, at the right time, in the right way. To get information on how this works, go on to Step 4: Tell the Court Copies Were 'Served', click the "Next" button.



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