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James Dickinson

To serve a restraining order without an address, you will typically need the court to accept substituted service, which may include methods like publication in a local newspaper, as outlined by specific court orders when standard service is impractical. We'll explore the essential steps for effectively serving a restraining order, including the importance of completing a Proof of Service form, the role of substituted service, and the specific procedures approved by courts for cases where a direct address is unavailable. By the end of this article, you should better understand what a restraining order is, what domestic abuse is, what constitutes harassment, what it means to serve someone, and the affidavit process.

Understanding Service of Process for a Restraining Order

The serving of a restraining order is an essential part of the legal process, as it notifies the defendant about the order and its potential consequences. This type of temporary directive is designed to protect individuals from acts like domestic abuse and harassment. Similarly, permanent restraining orders also serve as official alerts for defendants.

In this process, completing a Proof of Service form is crucial in ensuring that the defendant has received the restraining order. It’s recommended that petitioners keep a copy alongside their own so they can prove that proper service was carried out.

To successfully serve a restraining order, there are several important steps involved: prompt delivery to avoid delays. Utilizing appropriate methods such as enlisting professional help with CH-200 forms. Understanding possible repercussions if service isn’t completed properly - including failure to arrest violators or obtain lasting protection through long-term restrictions on contact between parties.

What Is A Restraining Order?

A restraining order or protective order is a court order used to protect individuals from actions such as domestic abuse and harassment. If you would like more information about restraining orders or protective orders, generally you can find that information at Restraining Order Attorneys at O'Flaherty Law  

What Is Domestic Abuse?

The definition of domestic abuse can vary slightly from state to state. In Illinois, it is defined as any person who strangles, hits, threatens, kicks, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member. Iowa has similar laws, and a general overview along with Iowa specific can be read about in our article,  What is Considered Domestic Abuse and Domestic Violence in Iowa?

What Is Harassment?  

Harassment is any intentional act that causes a person to be worried, anxious, or uncomfortable.    


What It Means To Serve Someone?

This means you are giving an individual notice that a legal document has been filed against them.      

This is typically accomplished through personal service or substituted service.  

  • Personal service is the physical delivery of the restraining order to the person it is directed to or to an individual authorized to receive it on that person's behalf.  
  • Substituted service is serving an individual indirectly through a friend or family member of suitable age, serving it at the individual's workplace, publishing in a local newspaper, or other court-approved methods.    


The court will verify that service has been accomplished before it fully enforces a restraining order.    

Restraining Order paperwork with pen

If you live in Illinois, the rules of the civil procedure outlined in 735 ILCS 5/2-202 and 735 ILCS 5/2-203 outline the requirements that must be followed. Other states typically have similar rules of civil procedure, and an experienced attorney can assist with making sure all of the requirements are met.    


There are three ways you typically serve someone when you do have an address.    

  • If you have an address, you can mail a copy of the restraining order to the individual's residence via registered mail.  
  • You may have the local Sheriff or law enforcement serve the individual at their address.  
  • You can hire someone or a process server company to serve the restraining order on the individual.    

The main restriction is that you may not serve the restraining order on the individual yourself. Someone else must serve the restraining order for you.  

What Do You Do When You Want To Serve A Restraining Order Without An Address?    

In this situation, you will typically need the court to accept the substituted service. Depending on the documents being served, different states may allow one or more forms of substituted service.    

In Illinois, the court looks at 735 ILC 5/2-203.1 Service by particular court order, which outlines service procedures when the standard service is impractical.  

It is essential to contact an experienced attorney to assist with navigating this process when you do not have an address for the individual you would like the restraining order to be enforced upon.    

What forms of substituted service may some courts accept if you do not have an address? Sometimes, the clerk may accept an affidavit if you do not have the address available.    

What is the Affidavit Process?

You can, individually or with the help of an attorney, fill out an affidavit.  

An affidavit is a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation.    

Generally, you will describe your situation and why you do not have an address for the individual. If the affidavit is accepted, the clerk can have a method of substituted service, such as notice by publication in a local newspaper approved to satisfy the notice of service requirement. This will allow the restraining order process to move forward.    

Following these steps can serve a restraining order without an address.    

You should speak to an experienced protective order attorney who can evaluate your situation and start to help you with the process of serving a restraining order without an address. While this article offers a streamlined explanation of restraining orders, you should seek the assistance of an attorney if you still have questions. If you are looking for help with your business matter, feel free to call O'Flaherty Law; we would be happy to help you.  

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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