Serve the Termination Papers
After you file a termination of parental rights case, the next step is to make sure the other parent is “served” with the papers. You may also need to serve the Child Support Office, and you may need to serve the parent's nearest relative living in Nevada if you can't find the parent. Visit this section to learn about how to have the parent served, who else to serve, and what to do if you do not know where to find the parent.
Please read the information on this page very carefully. The Court does not serve the papers for you. It is up to YOU to make sure the right people get served. If the right people are not properly served, your case could get dismissed and you will have to start all over!
You will have to serve the following people/agencies:
- The parent you filed against.
- The parent's nearest known relative living in Nevada if you cannot find the parent.
- The child's legal guardian (if there is one).
- The Child Support Office if you are receiving public assistance.
Read the following sections for more details about who and how to serve the papers:
You can find answers to more common questions about service on the Frequently Asked Questions: Service page.
If you and/or the child receive any kind of public assistance (such as TANF, SNAP, etc.), you will have to mail copies of your documents to the Office of Child Support Enforcement. You must mail the documents by REGISTERED or CERTIFIED mail at least 45 days before your hearing.
The address for the child support office is included in the form below. Mail the documents to the address listed on the form, and then complete and file the Certificate of Mailing.
You will still have to serve the other parent and/or request publication if you can't find the parent. Read more about how to serve the parent in the sections below.
What To Serve: The parent must be served in person with the following:
- A copy of the filed Petition to Terminate Parental Rights
- A copy of the filed Notice of Hearing (with the hearing date included)
When To Serve: As soon as possible so the parent knows about the court date. A minimum of 20 days' notice is usually required.
Who Can Serve: The papers must be served by a "disinterested person." This means someone who is not a party in the case, not interested in the outcome of the case, and who is at least 18 years old. Do not have close family members or boyfriends/girlfriends serve the papers, as this could raise questions with the court.
You can ask a neutral person to serve the documents, or you can hire the sheriff or a private process service to serve the documents for a fee. Visit the Sheriff’s Civil Process Section for more information on their fees and services.
How to Serve: Whoever serves the papers must hand-deliver the documents to the parent in person. The parent can be served anywhere – at home, at work, etc. The person who serves your documents must complete an Affidavit of Service that says when, where, and how the documents were served. The affidavit must be filed with the court to show that the parent was properly served. If you use the sheriff or a private process server, they may have their own form to complete as proof of service. If you have someone else serve the papers, they can download and fill out the Affidavit of Service below.
File this form with the court as soon as possible (and prior to your court hearing) so the judge knows the other parent has been served.
You are not allowed to serve the documents yourself.
However, if the other parent will willingly accept the documents from you, the parent can sign and notarize an Acceptance of Service form instead. The form must be filed with the court.
You must do everything you can to locate the parent. Contact friends, family members, employers, coworkers, or anyone who might know where the parent can be found. Search for the person online through social networking sites and by email. You can also check the Post Office for forwarding information. Check with any source that might lead you to a good address for the parent. This is called doing your “due diligence.” The Affidavit of Due Diligence (below) includes many suggested search sites. The judge will want to see you tried as many of those avenues as possible.
WARNING!Some judges require someone other than the Petitioner to do the search for the other parent. You may need to ask a neutral person to do the "due diligence" search and fill out the "Affidavit of Due Diligence" paperwork showing the places they searched. If you want a professional to do the search, you can look for people who offer "skip trace" services and they will try and find the parent for a fee. They should provide you with the required affidavit detailing their attempts to locate the person.
If you still cannot find the parent, you can ask the Court for permission to serve by publishing the notice of hearing in a newspaper and mailing a copy of the petition and notice of hearing to his or her last known address. You will have to detail all of the efforts you made to find the parent.
FYI!If the judge allows you to publish a notice to the other parent, you will still have to make sure the parent's nearest known relative who lives in Nevada is personally served with the documents. This is to make sure every effort has been made to notify the parent of the case against him/her.
To ask the Court for permission to serve by publication, follow these steps:
- Have someone search for the parent and fill out the Affidavit of Due Diligence. The person should mail a copy of the petition and notice of hearing to the parent's last known address in addition to searching any way possible to find the parent.
The person should mail the petition and the notice by regular mail (not certified mail). After mailing the petition and notice of hearing and doing a thorough search, have them fill out the Affidavit of Due Diligence indicating everything that was done to try and contact or locate the parent.
- The Petitioner (you) must fill out the following forms. The Affidavit to Serve by Publication is your statement that you do not know where to find the parent. The Order to Serve by Publication is for the judge to sign if your request to publish is approved. Complete everything in the Order to Serve by Publication except for the judge's signature line.
- File the two affidavits with the Court.
- Submit the proposed Order to Serve by Publication to the judge assigned to your case. You can bring it to the 3rd floor of the family court or mail it to the courthouse. The judge will mail everything back to you after the judge has had a chance to review your paperwork.
- Wait for your answer. If the judge believes that the parent truly cannot be found after reviewing your papers, the judge will sign the order allowing you to serve by publication. If not, you will receive a memo from the judge's staff letting you know what needs to be fixed.
- If the judge signs your Order to Serve by Publication, contact a newspaper to arrange for publication. You will have to provide the newspaper with a copy of the Notice of Hearing and the Order to Serve by Publication, and make sure the notice of hearing is published once a week for 4 consecutive weeks.
FYI!The popular Clark County newspapers you may want to contact to arrange for publication are the
Nevada Legal News (702-382-2747) and the Las Vegas Review-Journal (702-383-0383).
- Make sure the Affidavit of Publication is filed with the court. The newspaper usually files this for you, but if they do not, be sure to ask for a copy of the Affidavit of Publication and file it yourself.
- Have the Parent's Nearest Known Relative Living In Nevada Served.
A neutral process server will have to personally serve the petition and the notice of hearing on the parent's nearest known adult relative living in Nevada. The relative you named in the petition to terminate parental rights is the person who needs to be served.
The same rules about serving the parent apply to serving the relative. Follow the instructions for service above and make sure an affidavit of service is filed with the court so the judge knows who was served, when, and where.