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Home Courts By District 17th Judicial District Service of Process Questions
Home Courts By District 17th Judicial District Service of Process Questions
Service of Process Questions

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Locate a Sherriff's Office to perform service.

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Scroll down for answers to these questions:

  • What is “service”? How do I perform a service of process?
  • What do I do if I attempt to serve the other party, but they cannot be found?
  • How do I perform service on a Child, Including a Parent who is under eighteen years old?
  • What if I’m serving a business entity, not an individual?

What is "service"? How do I perform a service of process?

        For step-by-step information on how to perform a service of process, please watch the 17th Judicial District's Access to Justice Committee's video on Service of Process. Watch the video on youtube by clicking the image below.If you are unable to access youtube, you can still review the information provided in the video by reading the video script.

scroll down for more information

What happens when the other person cannot be found? 

      In some situations, the court will allow you to begin your case with something less than personal service of process on the other party.  The Court only allows this as a last resort, and will usually require a sheriff’s “not found” return of service to show that a serious attempt at personal service has been made.  Typical situations include those where the other party has not been seen for many years, or where the person is known to have been deported from the United States.

      In these situations the court may allow publication of the process in a local newspaper, or service by registered mail.  The type of case you are filing and local court practice will affect exactly what will be required of you, however there are general instructions and forms online at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=204.   For more information, look at Rule 4(g) of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.  For Domestic Relations Cases only, there is a specific statute that allows service by one-time-only publication as part of a consolidated notice, published in a local newspaper.    CRS 14-10-107(4)(a).  This is usually the cheapest and easiest method.

      Even if the court allows you to serve process by one of these alternative methods, there are certain kinds of orders that the court simply will not give unless you have obtained actual personal service on the other person.  For example, a court will not order child support or money payments from a person who has not been found.  Moreover, the court will not order the return of children or property in the other persons custody.  When one of these alternative methods has been used, the court will be limited to ruling on such issues as the status of a marriage, or the ownership of property located within the jurisdiction of the court.  Most judges will give at least interim orders about the custodial status of children in the physical custody of the petitioning party.       

 

Performing service on a Child, Including a Parent who is Under Eighteen Years Old?

      If the person you are trying to serve is at least 13 years old, but less than eighteen years old, you must serve both the child and the child’s father, mother, or guardian.  If neither parent nor guardian is present in this state, then you can serve any adult with whom the child resides, or in whose care and control, or employment the child is found.  For a child less than 13 years you need only serve the child’s father, mother, or guardian.  If neither parent nor guardian is present in this state, then you can serve any adult with whom the child resides, or in whose care the child is found. 

 

What if I’m serving a business entity, not an individual?

      If the Defendant is not an individual person, but a business corporation, government agency, or some other kind of entity that is not a single individual person, you have the responsibility to figure out who you should serve the papers on. It may seem obvious to you, but it if it turns out to be wrong legally you will find your case dismissed for improper service.  For example, if you want to sue John Doe Inc., serving John Doe personally at his home could be serving the wrong person.  However, if the corporation’s registered agent for service is actually someone called Bob Smith with a corporate address in Denver, you would accomplish service on the corporation with certainty by serving Mr. Smith at his office.

      How do you find out who to serve?  If the Defendant is a business, you can get help online at www.sos.state.co.us (select business section).  Use this web site to determine who the registered agent is, and then personally serve that person.  It is important that you identify how the Defendant’s business is organized.  For example, if the business is a sole proprietorship, corporation, etc. Rule 4 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, identifies how service should be completed based on the type of business.  This important information is also online at http://www.michie.com/colorado/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp=

      If the Defendant is a governmental agency there are still other specialized rules that tell you how to serve a city, county, state government, government officer etc.  These are also given in Rule 4 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.  In addition to service, when it comes to the government, you may be required to file a written notice with the Attorney General or other government representative, prior to filing your case with the Court.  CRS §24-10-109, C.R.S.

      Whether it is a business, or part of a government, the rules on how to accomplish service are complex, and it is essential to understand and follow the rules, or seek legal advice if you are unable to do this for yourself.

 

 

 

 

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