“Service” is the technical name for the other party receiving from you the documents that you have filed. Arizona courts require one party to show proof that the other person was served. In today’s legal world, service does not have to be done with a process server. Instead, you can simply mail the documents to the other party, if applicable (as outlined below).
Most likely, your spouse also lives in Arizona. If this is the case, you can serve the other party as outlined below. The service methods are listed here from least to most expensive.
Option 1: Hand-delivery and an Acceptance of Service form
If you and your spouse are amicable, hand-delivery is a good option. This means that you can give the other party all six (6) or eight (8) documents (all of the documents you filed except for the Summons). If you use this method, you do not send the original Summons that you received from the court clerk when you initially filed your documents. At the same time you give the other party the papers, you should also give them an Acceptance of Service form to fill out. This form must be signed by the receiving party either in front of a notary or the court clerk. If the receiving party signs the documents in front of a notary, you should file their acceptance of service with the court after making a copy for your records.
Do not use hand-delivery and an acceptance of service form if you are a victim of domestic violence or you believe that you or your children are in danger. If this is the case, use another method of service. It is best to err on the side of being safe.
Option 2: Mail or Other Delivery Service Requiring Signature Confirmation
This option requires that you send all of your documents using certified mail, restricted delivery. The “restricted delivery” entails a minor fee, but ensures that the deliverer confirms that he or she is delivering personally to your spouse. When you receive this green card back in the mail, you will file this with your mailing receipt after making a copy of it for your records. This form is located online at:
http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/Forms/FamilyCourt/fc_gn2.asp. It looks like this:
Option 3: Service by a Registered Process Server
When people think of service, they generally think of a process server doing the job. With this method, you hire a process server to physically deliver those documents to your spouse. You will need to give the process server specific information as to where he or she can find your spouse. Process servers generally charge for the number of attempts it take to find your spouse. It is best to be as specific as possible and provide the process server a picture, so that he or she can identify your spouse. After the process server serves the documents on your spouse, the process server will file an affidavit of service with the court.
Option 4: Service by the Sheriff
This is usually not the most efficient way to serve the other party. First, a deposit of $200.00 is required for this method. You may ask the Sheriff’s Office for a deferral or waiver of these fees. To ask the Sheriff’s Office to serve your documents, you will need to fill out two (2) forms. (Both forms are on the Maricopa Superior Court website). If you live in Maricopa County and want to serve the papers in Maricopa County, you can bring the documents to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Civil Unit, 201 West Jefferson Street, First Floor, Central Court Building, Phoenix, Arizona 85003. Their telephone number is (602) 876-1840.
You qualify under this section of service if the following has been completed:
If your spouse/partner filed the action against you, you must file a responsive pleading. You have a time limit, so make sure you know what it is. If you were served in the state of Arizona, you have 20 days to respond, if you are out of state, you have 30 days. Your response should...Read More >