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How to Serve Process in Utah

Serving the Complaint or Petition (or serving a Motion to Enforce) to start a case

When you are starting a case or filing a Motion to Enforce Order, you must have the other parties in your case served personally or by mail, unless they accept service. If you are starting a new case (including a petition to modify), make sure you include a summons with the papers to be served.

Alternative service (sometimes called publication) is only allowed if you have looked for the other party and haven't been able to find them.

Personal Service
In personal service, papers are handed personally to the defendant or respondent.

You can't serve the papers in your own case. Papers can be served by a sheriff, a constable, a U.S. Marshal, or by any person 18 or older who is:

not a party in the case or a lawyer for a party in the case, not been convicted of a felony violation of a sex offense listed in Utah Code section 77-41-102(16), or
not a respondent in a protective order proceeding (See Utah Code Title 78B Chapter 7). If you can't find someone who meets these requirements, you can hire someone. This could be a local sheriff or a private company. If you want to hire a company, try searching the internet for "process servers."

Whoever serves the papers needs to fill out a Proof of Service. You will then need to file the Proof of Service.

If the defendant or respondent can't be found to be served personally, the papers can be given to an adult who lives in the defendant's or respondent's home. If the defendant or respondent is a company, the papers can be given to the company's manager or the person in charge of the office.

Utah Code §78B-8-302, Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d)(1)

Service by Mail
You can mail your papers to the other party using the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial courier service like FedEx or UPS. You must send the papers in a way that requires the respondent to sign for the delivery. The defendant or respondent must sign for the delivery - no one else can sign.

Once you get the defendant or respondent's signature for delivery, fill out a Proof of Service and file it along with the signature. You will then need to file the Proof of Service. See the Forms section below to find the right one for your case.

Updated on: 11/05/2023

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