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Need Help with Serving the opposing party in a Custody Case?

How to Serve the Other Parent in Ohio



1. Certified Mail:

Send the documents via certified mail, return receipt requested, from the court. This provides proof of mailing and receipt, with the requirement that the time for appearance shall not be less than seven days after the date of mailing. This can be requested by using the Request for Service form attached.


2. Service by Sheriff:

To utilize this method, provide the sheriff's office with the necessary documents and the other parent's last known address. The sheriff will attempt to serve the documents personally. This method is often used when the respondent is likely to evade service or when other methods have failed. This can be requested by using the Request for Service form attached.


3. Personal Service by a Process Server:

Hire a professional process server or request the sheriff's office to deliver the legal documents directly to the other parent. This ensures that the service is executed by someone who is experienced and understands the legal requirements. For this type of service, you can contact a local or online process server to perform the service. They will file the required forms or give you the required forms to file with the court.


4. Service by Publication:

When the residence of the other parent is unknown and cannot be ascertained with reasonable diligence, service by publication is permitted. This process involves several steps:


a.     Affidavit for Service by Publication: File an affidavit stating that the other parent's residence is unknown and cannot be ascertained with reasonable diligence. Mention the last known address of the party to be served. Templates attached, depending on the type of action.


b.     Court Approval: Once the court approves your affidavit, you can proceed with service by publication.


c.     Methods of Publication: - Newspaper Publication: Publish the notice in a newspaper of general circulation in Franklin County or, if no newspaper is published there, in an adjoining county. The notice must include the court's name and address, case number, parties' names, a summary of the complaint, and a statement requiring the respondent to appear by a certain date, not less than seven days after publication. Service is complete on the date of publication. The County Court Clerk may require you to contact the newspapers yourself. You will need to confirm with your county clerk.



d. Proof of Service: For newspaper publication, an affidavit of publication along with e

the notice must be filed with the court. For posting, service is complete upon the docket entry of posting after seven days. The clerk will record all mailing actions and outcomes in the action's records.


Important Notes:


Always check for updated local rules and procedures in Franklin County to ensure compliance.

Keep detailed records of all attempts at service, including dates, methods, and outcomes, to demonstrate due diligence if questioned by the court.

Given the complexity of serving legal documents, especially through publication, consider consulting with a legal professional to navigate the process accurately.

How to Serve Handout
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