Step 3: Service of process
If you receive an ex parte order, it will not take effect until the papers have been served upon the abuser. The courthouse clerk will give all of the necessary paperwork to the sheriff or another law enforcement officer to be served personally upon the abuser. However, if personal service cannot be made, the judge may order service of the petition and any ex parte order by alternate means (such as to the respondent’s last known addresses) or by “publication.”1
The application for alternate service must include the last known location of the respondent as well as other information about the respondent/abuser’s family members’ locations, etc. The judge is supposed to consider the length of time the respondent’s location has been unknown, the likelihood that the respondent’s location will become known, the type of things you are asking for in your order for protection, and the nature of the efforts made to locate the respondent. The judge can order service by first class mail, forwarding address requested, to any addresses where there is a reasonable possibility that mail or information will be forwarded or communicated to the respondent/abuser.1
The court may also order publication in Minnesota or in another state, but only if such publication may reasonably succeed in notifying the respondent of the proceeding. If either of these options are ordered, service shall be considered complete 14 days after mailing or 14 days after court-ordered publication.1
1 Minn Stat § 518B.01(8)(a),(c)
You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?