What is Return of Service? How to file Proof of Service with the court.

Today I’m going to answer the process serving questions, “What is Return of Service?”, “How to file Return of Service.” and “How to fill out Return of Service or Proof of Service.”
What is Return of Service?

Return of service (also known in some areas as “Proof of Service”) is the piece of paper (or sometimes two sheets) that tells the court you served the person you were appointed/hired to serve.


What does Proof of Service look like?

Example of a Proof of Service form.

Proof of Service (AKA: Return of Service) form example.

Proof of Service is usually one or two pages that have the case number and information on it and a few or several boxes to check-off depending on your particular service of process.


How to fill out Proof of Service

Of the check boxes you see on the form, one box is for if you served the person personally.

Another box is in case you served him/her by Substitute Service.

Another box is in case you couldn’t serve the papers.

There might be other boxes for other situations as well.

Simply look at your options and check the one that applies to you then sign and date the Proof of Service.

WARNING: This is a sworn statement that you actually served the person at the time, place and in the manner you are attesting to. Do not lie on this or any sworn statement!

How to file Return of Service

When you get the pack of papers to serve, hang onto the page or two that is the Return of Service (AKA Proof of Service). You don’t deliver that Proof of Service page to the subject.

After you serve the rest of the pack, fill out the Return of Service and take it down to the courthouse. You will usually bring it to the Clerk of Courts office for the court that issued the summons, subpoena, orders, restraining order or other paperwork in the pack.

Simply give the Proof of service to the clerk working at the counter. The clerk will punch it with a date/time stamp to prove when you filed it.

Pro Tip: You can get a copy of the filed Return of Service right then and there. Law firms love to have a copy in their file!

In The Investigator’s Ultimate Guide to Process Serving, I teach all of this and a TON more. I teach you everything from A to Z about how to serve process including how to get clients if you want to work for yourself!

If you like this helpful information, then don’t miss out on my free special report If You Want To Be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. If not, you can get it right here…

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Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

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