Grandview, WA asked in Domestic Violence and Family Law for California

Q: Do you have to respond to a restraining order hearing if you were never served in person and u r outside California ?

Court Claimed I Was evading service which is not true so he allowed service by mail. I did not attend the first hearing and that's why. As I was never served in person and I am located in another state. Got papers to a mail po box, is that a legitimate service ? I did not sign to anything, a bunch of nonsense. Even if mail is okay they a regular USPS, there was no service at location of home either. I have no reason to respond. Especially the other side is in contempt and a hearing is coming up in this state. Attorneys don't wanna get involved. I tried. What's best approach ?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, courts can permit service by alternative means (such as publication) under certain conditions, especially if they believe you are evading personal service. This kind of service typically requires the court to be convinced that reasonable efforts were made to serve you in person without success. If the court has allowed service by mail and deems it valid, the proceedings can continue in your absence, potentially resulting in a default judgment against you.

Ignoring a restraining order hearing, even if you question the legitimacy of the service, is risky. The court has mechanisms to consider service completed in various ways, including by mail, if it follows specific protocols. If the court has decided you were served, not responding can lead to decisions being made without your input or defense, affecting your legal rights and obligations significantly.

Given your situation, it might be beneficial to consult with an attorney familiar with California law and the specifics of your case. If finding local legal representation is challenging, consider reaching out to legal aid organizations or looking for attorneys in California who might be willing to work remotely. They can offer guidance on how to challenge the service if it was indeed improper or advise on how to proceed to protect your interests in the case and the upcoming hearing in the other state.

David Brooks agrees with this answer

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