Serve Provincial Court documents

Depending on the document, you can serve documents in a Provincial Court family case in two ways:

  • Personal service
  • Delivery

Personal service means that someone must physically hand the document to the person who needs to receive it. You can't do this yourself — you must have another adult serve it for you. This can be a friend or relative, or you can hire a professional process server.

Delivery means that the document can be dropped off, mailed, faxed, or emailed to the other person's address for service.

The other person's "address for service" is the address that the person puts on their own court documents (such as their Application to Obtain an Order or Reply). It should be clearly written on each court document. The address for service must include a postal address (home or work), and can include a fax number or email address.

You can only deliver a document to an address for service that appears on the court document. Even if you know the person's email address, you can't email the documents if that email address isn't included in the address for service.

Personal service or delivery?

The court rules use the word serve to describe both personal service and service by delivery, so you need to figure out whether a document needs to be served personally. Only these Provincial Court documents must be served personally:

  • Application to Obtain an Order (Form 1);
  • Application Respecting Existing Orders or Agreements (Form 2);
  • Order to Recognize an Extraprovincial Order for Guardianship, Parenting Arrangements or Contact (Form 22);
  • a request for court enforcement under the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act;
  • a subpoena; and
  • a summons.

All other Provincial Court documents can be served by delivery.

There are different rules for personal service on the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (and in some other special situations, such as when the other party is a business). See Rule 9(1) of the Provincial Court (Family) Rules.

Once you've figured out how to serve the document, choose the correct guide below.

Serve documents by personal service


Personal service

Serve documents by delivery


Delivery