Serving Someone in Prison

A person can still be served while in prison.  A spouse or parent of children may wish to serve the incarcerated person with:

  • A petition for Divorce or Dissolution of marriage
  • A petition for a Legal Separation
  • A petition for Annulment
  • A Paternity Action which would involve custody, visitation and support of children
  • A Request for Order to change an existing court order

When a person is incarcerated, service papers are typically sent to a specific room or department in the prison that handles ‘proof of service’. The service packet will be given to the respondent by an authorized person who will sign the ‘proof of service’. This is similar to a process server. It is the responsibility of the petitioner to find the correct prison address for service.

The Proof of Service is an essential part of any Family Law matter and must be filed with the court when a Divorce, Legal Separation, Annulment, Paternity Action or changes to existing orders for custody, visitation and support of children have been filed.  Even if someone is incarcerated, they can still be served.
Once the person is served, he/she has 30 days to respond. A spouse or unmarried person who is incarcerated may respond! If a response is filed then the action is contested. The respondent may respond because a release from prison is imminent and he/she wants to address the issues. However, sometimes the respondent responds even when he/she will be incarcerated for a very long period of time. A consultation with the Attorney will help make clear your best options in either case.
For more information on serving someone while incarcerated and for other Family Law issues, please call Legal Action Workshop @ 1-800-HELP-444 (1-800-435-7444) or visit our website .
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