Step 4: Service of process
The abuser must be “served,” or given papers that tell him/her about the hearing date and your temporary protective order (if the judge gave you one). Do not attempt to serve the papers on the abuser yourself.
The clerk will either send the order to the police, or have you bring it to the police yourself. The police will then find the abuser and serve him/her notice of the temporary protective order (if the judge gave you one) as well as the notice of the scheduled final protective order hearing. There is no charge to have the authorities serve the abuser.1
Furthermore, you have the right to be notified within three hours after an interim, temporary or final protective order is served on the abuser.2 (Law enforcement has two hours to notify the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and that Department has one hour to notify you.3) The court clerk is supposed to provide you with a notification request form to fill out when you file for your protective order.4 Be sure to ask for it if you want to be notified.
1 MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-505(b)(3)
2 MD Code, Family Law, § 4-504(d)(1)
3 MD Code, Family Law, §§ 4-504.1(f)(3); 4-505(b)(1)(ii)
4 MD Code, Family Law, § 4-504(d)(3)
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?