How to Serve Court Papers by Mail in California
These instructions apply to most types of responsive pleadings, such as Answers and Demurrers, as well as most type of Motions. Be sure to research the type of document you need to serve, to determine if the court has any special filing rules, such as requiring a different number of copies, or whether the documents to be filed in a different department. More information is available on the Sacramento County Superior Court's web site at http://www.saccourt.ca.gov/civil/filing-instructions.aspx.
These instructions DO NOT apply to case-initiating paperwork, such as Summons, Complaints, Orders to Show Cause, Ex Parte Motions, or Restraining Orders. Case-initiating documents generally require Personal Service. See the Step-by-Step guide on Personal Service on our website at www.saclaw.org/pages/personal-service.aspx for more information.
All of the documents you file with the court in your case must be served on all other parties. Some documents, such as discovery requests and responses, are not filed with the court but must still be served. See the videos and Step-by-Step guides on Discovery on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/discovery-topic.aspx for more information.
You cannot serve your own documents. Documents must be served by someone over 18 who is not a party to the case.
Responsive paperwork and Motions are served prior to filing with the court. The court will not accept these documents unless they are accompanied by a signed Proof of Service.
The Judicial Council form commonly used in this procedure is:
Click here to download this Guide, with step-by-step instructions, including sample forms.
Click here to view this guide as a video.
updated 11/13 mpj
reviewed 11/13 en