After you file for custody, you must make sure the other parent is “served” with the papers. The court does not serve the papers for you.  Visit this section to learn about how to have the other parent served, and what to do if you do not know where the other parent can be found.

Read the information on this page very carefully.  If the Defendant is not properly served, your case could get dismissed and you will have to start all over! 

Copy bw What to serve the Defendant.  There are 2 forms that have to be served.

Deadline 1 bw When to serve the Defendant.  If you don't serve by the deadline, your case will be dismissed.

Taking Oath bw Who can serve the Defendant.  Only certain people are allowed to serve the Defendant. 

Personal service bw How to serve the Defendant.  Defendant typically has to be served in person. 

Questions bw If you can't find the Defendant.  Learn options if Defendant cannot be served in person. 

 

Copy bw What to Serve

The other parent must be served with the following:

  • A copy of the filed Complaint for Custody/Paternity
  • A copy of the Summons

Always keep the originals if the court gave them back to you. The original may need to be returned to the court for filing after the Defendant has been served.  Always make copies of documents to be served on the other parent.

 

Deadline 1 bw When to Serve the Defendant

Your documents must be served within 120 days after you file the complaint. If the other parent is not served within 120 days, your complaint will be dismissed and you will have to start all over. 

 

Taking Oath bw Who Can Serve the Defendant

The papers must be served by a "disinterested person." This means someone who is not a party in the case, not interested in the outcome of the case, and who is at least 18 years old. Family members and significant others (boyfriends/girlfriends) cannot serve the documents, as this could raise questions with the court. You can ask a neutral person to serve the documents, or you can hire the sheriff or a private process service to serve the documents for a fee.

The person who serves your documents must complete an Affidavit of Service that says when, where, and how the documents were served. The affidavit must be filed with the court to show that the Defendant was properly served.  If you use the sheriff, constable, or a private process server, they may have their own form to complete as proof of service. If you have someone else serve the summons and complaint, they can download and fill out the Affidavit of Service below.  File this form with the court as proof Defendant was served.

Affidavit of Service (pdf fillable)    Affidavit of Service (pdf)

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Can I Serve the Defendant?

You can serve the documents yourself ONLY IF the Defendant is willing to waive formal service. You have to give Defendant a copy of the documents, along with a notice and a waiver.  

If Defendant signs the "Waiver of Service of Summons," Defendant will have additional time to file a response to your papers.  You must file the waiver with the court.  All of the forms and detailed instructions are linked below:

Waiver of Service Instructions (pdf)

Notice of a Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of Summons (pdf fillable)

Notice of a Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of Summons (pdf)

Waiver of Service of Summons (pdf fillable)

Waiver of Service of Summons (pdf) 

 

Personal service bw How to Serve the Defendant

The other parent must be personally served with a copy of the documents. This means someone must hand-deliver the documents to the Defendant in person. The other parent can be served anywhere – at home, at work, etc. The person who serves the Defendant must complete an Affidavit of Service stating when, where and what documents were served on the Defendant.

Affidavit of Service (pdf fillable)   Affidavit of Service (pdf)  

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The Affidavit of Service must be filed with the court so the judge knows when and where the Defendant was served.  If this is not filed within 120 days of when you filed your complaint, the judge may dismiss your case!  If you still have the original Summons, that must be filed as well.

Bring the Affidavit of Service and the original Summons (if you still have it) to the court for filing. Both must be filed.

 

Questions bw If You Can’t Find the Defendant

You must do everything you can to locate the other party.  However, if Defendant is evading service or cannot be found, you have two options:

Some judges require someone other than the Plaintiff to do the search for the Defendant. You may need to ask a neutral person to do the "due diligence" search and fill out the "Affidavit of Due Diligence" paperwork showing the places they searched. If you want a professional to do the search, you can look for people who offer "skip trace" services and they will try and find the Defendant for a fee. They should provide you with the required affidavit detailing their attempts to locate the Defendant.

 

If you can contact Defendant but don't have an address, request Alternate Service

You can ask the judge for permission to serve by alternate means. This could mean sending the documents by email, by social media, by texting the documents, etc.  If the judge allows you to serve by alternate service, you will have to send the documents through every method the judge identifies on the order.

First, fill out and file these forms:  

Ex Parte Request to Serve by Alternate Means (pdf fillable)

Ex Parte Request to Serve by Alternate Means (pdf)

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Affidavit of Due Dilligence (pdf fillable)

Affidavit of Due Dilligence (pdf)

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Request for Submission (pdf fillable)

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Next, fill out an order form and submit it to your judge to review: 

Order to Serve by Alternate Means (pdf fillable)

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Finally, if the judge allows alternate service, fill out this form and file it after you serve Defendant by all the methods ordered: 

Proof of Alternative Service (pdf fillable)

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If you cannot find Defendant at all, request Publication

 

If you have no contact at all with the Defendant and don't know where to find him/her, the judge expects you to do everything possible to try and find them.  Contact friends, family members, employers, coworkers, or anyone who might know where to find Defendant. Search for Defendant online through social networking sites and by email. You can also check the Post Office for forwarding information. Check with any source that might lead you to a good address. This is called doing your “due diligence.”  The judge will want to see you tried as many avenues as possible to find Defendant.  Some judges want someone neutral to do this search.  

If you still cannot find the other party, you can ask the Court for permission to publish the summons in a newspaper instead.  You may also have to mail the documents to a last known address if you have one. You will have to detail all of the efforts you made to find Defendant.

First, fill out and file these forms: 

Ex Parte Motion for Publication (pdf fillable)

Ex Parte Motion for Publication (pdf)

Affidavit of Due Dilligence (pdf fillable)

Affidavit of Due Dilligence (pdf)

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Request for Submission (pdf fillable)

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Next, fill out an order form and turn it in to the judge to review: 

Order to Serve by Publication (pdf fillable)

Order for Publication (pdf)

Finally, if the judge allows publication, contact the newspaper indicated in the order and arrange for publication.  When publication is done, make sure the Affidavit of Publication gets filed.  Some newspapers will do this for you and some will give you the Affidavit to file yourself.  If the judge ordered you to mail the documents to Defendant's last known address, do so and fill out and file the Certificate of Mailing below. 

Certificate of Mailing (Publication (pdf fillable)

Certificate of Mailing (Publication) (pdf)

About This Website

This website is intended to provide general information, forms, and resources for people who are representing themselves in Nevada's courts without a lawyer. There may be additional information you need to know depending on where your case is being handled. If you will be representing yourself in Clark County or Washoe County, you should visit those self-help websites for specialized forms and instructions.