Yes, but serving someone in a foreign country can be complicated. International treaties may apply and some countries have stated that they object to some service methods. So how you serve someone may depend on where the opposing party is. Also, be aware that the orders or judgment from your case may not be enforceable in another country. If possible, you should speak with an attorney to discuss these issues.
There are several ways to serve someone, depending on whether the country where they are has agreed to an international treaty on service and whether the country has objected to a specific method of service. Each method has pros and cons. This website provides information about serving someone by mail which is one of the easiest and least expensive methods. You should speak with an attorney if possible to discuss which method to use.
You can serve by mail in many countries but some have objected to mail service. As of March 2008, you CANNOT serve someone by international registered mail if they live in:
You should check the U.S. State Department’s website, to see if there have been changes to this list.
You have 2 options. You can use:
The U.S. Postal Service website has information on current prices for international services.
You should consult with an attorney to understand all the other methods for serving someone in a foreign country. If you can’t get an attorney, call the Family Law Self-Help Services who may be able to give you helpful information about your options.
Yes. You can serve by any form of mail requiring a signed receipt by the person you are serving. To find a company that specializes in delivering things to foreign countries, try searching “international express mail” on the Internet. Make sure that the company:
These companies generally cost more than the U.S. Postal Service, but often guarantee quicker service.
Make sure you keep the receipt after the documents have been delivered. You will need to provide this to the court to prove you served the opposing party.
You should talk to an attorney about the other options for service. Please visit the U.S. State Department’s website to understand the different methods of service.
It depends. You have to translate the Complaint, Summons and other legal documents into the opposing party’s native language if he/she DOES NOT sufficiently understand English. If the opposing party DOES sufficiently understand English, you may not have to translate the Complaint, Summons and other legal documents into their language. However, the laws of the foreign country may require translation into the official language of the foreign country to be served.
The U.S. State Department’s website has country-specific information, which may including translation requirements.
Enforcing a judgment from an Alaska case in a foreign country is usually problematic. It depends on the laws of the foreign country. To help make sure you meet the foreign requirements for enforcement, you should consult attorneys in Alaska AND the foreign country as early as possible in the Alaska court case. You should do this even before filing the Complaint and serving the opposing party. The U.S. State Department has information about retaining a foreign attorney, and also a list of foreign attorneys.
Yes. You must show proof of service before the court enters a
You can file the following form if you are serving by mail:
Make sure you attach the proof of service.
A defendant who is in a foreign country has 40 days to file an answer in the Alaska court from the time he/she is served with the plaintiff’s complaint and summons. The defendant also must serve the answer on the plaintiff within 40 days.
If the plaintiff shows that he/she properly served the defendant and the defendant does not file an answer, the plaintiff may ask the court to enter a default judgment.
The U.S. State Department’s website has country-specific information, including service information.
| Rev. 28 July 2011
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