Supreme Court

How to serve Supreme Court documents

What does "serving a document" mean?

Sometimes a legal process will require that documents be served. This means that you must provide the document(s) to the other party or parties in your case. There are two ways that you can serve court documents in a Supreme Court family case: by personal service or by ordinary service.

What is the difference between personal service and ordinary service?

Depending on which type of document it is, Supreme Court documents are either served by personal service or by ordinary service.

  • Some Supreme Court documents must be served by personal service. This means that someone must physically hand the document to the party who needs to receive it. You can't do this yourself — you must have someone else (who's at least 19) serve it for you.
  • Most Supreme Court documents can be served by ordinary service. This means that the document can be either dropped off, mailed, faxed, or emailed to the other party, depending on the type of information they included in their "address for service." The address for service is the address they put on their own court documents, such as their Response to Family Claim (Form F4). You can only serve a document by fax or email if the person provided an email address or fax number as an address for service.

Important: 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 6-3(2) and 6-3(3) of the Supreme Court Family Rules.

Does the document need to be served by personal service or ordinary service?

The Supreme Court Family Rules set out whether you must serve a document by personal service or ordinary service. This chart shows which type of service applies for some of the most common documents in a family case:

Document Type of service
Application Response (Form F32) Ordinary service
Counterclaim (Form F5) Ordinary service unless a new person is named as a respondent
Child Support Affidavit (Form F37) Ordinary service
Financial Statement (Form F8) Ordinary service (although you may want to serve it along with your Notice of Family Claim)
Notice of Address for Service (Form F10) Ordinary service
Notice of Application (Form F31) Ordinary service (but by personal service if your application is to change, suspend, or terminate a final order)

Notice of Family Claim (Form F3)

Personal service

Notice of Judicial Case Conference (Form F19) Ordinary service
Notice of Withdrawal (Form F7) Personal service
Petition (Form F73) Personal service
Response to Family Claim (Form F4) Ordinary service

If the document you're serving isn't on this list, see Rule 6-3(1) for a complete list of documents that must be personally served. If you don't see your document on that list, it can be served by ordinary service.

Once you figure out how to serve the document, select the correct guide below.