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Instructions for Alternate Service

Back to Alternate Service Packet, SHC-PAC2

What is alternate service?

Normally, when you start a case you are required to serve the defendant by process server or certified mail/restricted delivery/return receipt. However, sometimes, the defendant cannot be located. In that situation, you may ask the court for permission to serve the defendant in a different way, for example by publication in a newspaper or posting at a shelter or some other location the defendant is known to frequent.

How do you get permission to do alternate service?

  1. Begin your diligent inquiry. This means looking really hard for someone. Please see our Tips on Locating People for ideas of how to look. You will also want to read carefully the Ex-parte Civil Rule 4(e) Motion & Order to Serve Defendant by Publication or Posting AND Affidavit of Diligent Inquiry, SHC-0190 (Word | PDF) to see all of the different steps of diligent inquiry. Keep track of what you do, because if you cannot find the defendant, you will have to file a completed motion.
  2. If you cannot find the person after trying the different things listed in the Tips, you will need to open your case so that you can get the summons and standing order from the court. See forms and instructions for starting a case for more information. Once you have these things, you must complete your diligent inquiry by attempting to serve the court documents by process server and certified mail/restricted delivery/return receipt.
  3. If you were not able to serve the opposing party by the US postal service or a process server, you can ask the court for permission to serve the opposing party by either publishing in a newspaper or posting on a bulletin board. Fill out:
  4. Make one copy of each of these documents and any attachments.
  5. File the original documents at your local court. ALSO, be sure to bring a self-addressed stamped envelope for the clerk to send your copies back to you once the request has been approved.
  6. Now you wait. You should receive the signed Notice to Absent Defendant, CIV-101 back from the court within about 15 days. Call the court and check on your file if more time goes by.
  7. Once you get the signed Notice to Absent Defendant, CIV-101, take that to the newspaper to have it published once a week for four consecutive weeks, or post it for 28 consecutive days in the three places approved by the court.
  8. After one month has passed, you must file your Proof of Notice of Service by Publication or Posting, SHC-0192 (Word | PDF).
  9. If the defendant does not answer, you may file for default 30 days after the last day of required publication or posting. If the defendant does answer, your case will move forward as a contested case and be set for trial.

How do I know whether to publish in a newspaper or post in a location?

Choose the method that is most likely to give the opposing party notice of the case and what you can afford. Publishing in the newspaper can cost over $300. You can post the notice if:

How do I know where to publish or post the Notice?

To publish the Notice in a newspaper, you can choose a newspaper in:

Your local court can tell you which local newspapers are in the judicial district.

To post the Notice, you can ask the court to post in the following places:

How much does it cost to publish the Notice in a newspaper?

The price varies depending on the newspaper, but it can be over $300.

How long do I have to publish the Notice in a newspaper?

Arrange to have the Notice published 4 times during 4 consecutive calendar weeks, once in each week. After the Notice to Absent Defendant has been published the last time, the newspaper will give you a document called Proof of Publication which you need to file with the court immediately. You can also file:

How long do I have to post the Notice on bulletin boards?

Usually, you need to post the Notice on bulletin boards in 3 locations for 28 full days in public places where the defendant is likely to go, unless the court says otherwise. After one month has passed since you published of posted, you must file:

Rev. 15 October 2007
© Alaska Court System

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