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Legal Information: Arizona

Restraining Orders

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September 19, 2018

Step 3: Service of process

The abuser must be served (given) papers that tell him/her about the order of protection. The order is not enforceable until the abuser is served and the order must be served within one year of the date it was issued.1 The clerk of court will tell you where you can go to get your papers served. In Arizona, you (the plaintiff) control when the order is served. It is your responsibility to get it to the appropriate law enforcement agency to serve it.

If you get an order from a justice court, the court constable can serve the order. If you obtain your order from a municipal (city) court and the abuser can be served within city limits, the city police will serve the abuser. If you obtain your order of protection from Superior Court, the county sheriff’s office may serve your order, or you may hire someone to serve the abuser for you.2 You will find links to AZ Sheriff Departments under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page. Remember, the police and courts cannot enforce your order until the abuser has been served.

1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(K)
2AZCADV, Advocacy in Domestic Violence Cases; A Lay Legal Advocates’ Guide to Arizona Law (2012)

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?