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What do I do when the person who served the complaint turns out not to be available to sign the Proof of Service form?

San Leandro, CA |

I do have a witness, that is a 15 year old minor who can testify and / or confirm that she saw the individual personally serve the party. There was not Proof of Service Form available at the time., but the person did do it. Only no one can get to where he is now to have him sign the form. Is there anything else I can do?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. If the other person appears or answers your complaint, then service may not be an issue. Id suggest mail, eemail so he can print and return the signed form. If the other side contests service, you needthe proof of service properly filld out despite your 15 yr old witness. You may need to re-serve if they contest service. if they dont respond and you need to enter a default, you als need the proper proof of service.


  2. My colleague's given good advice. I've never heard of anyone using a witness as proof of service and I don't think it would suffice. But even assuming the actual server's not available to sign the proof, it may not be an issue if service isn't contested.

    This is why you always need a signed proof of service, which is often filed with the document itself to assure the court that the rules have been followed. When the parties are pro per, this is especially important.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.


  3. First, you need to desperately search for the person who served the documents. There may be resources over the Internet, and there are also services who state they will find anyone anywhere, and you pay no fee unless they are successful. If all that fails, you will need to have another adult serve the documents and sign the proof of service.

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  4. If the other party answers your complaint, service of process issues are waived. Since it may not be an issue, wait until the other party answers, and if they bring up improper service, you can always have that party re-served.