5101:12-30-10 Service of process.

(A) Service of process is the formal, legal notice to a party involved in an action brought by the child support enforcement agency (CSEA) that explains the purpose of the action and the party's legal rights and obligations. Receipt of notice by a party permits the CSEA, in some circumstances, to proceed with the intended action and to impose obligations on the party even if that party fails to exercise his or her right to appear or object. Therefore, it is critical that the CSEA comply with laws and regulations governing service of process. This rule is intended to provide guidance regarding service of process in administrative actions initiated by the CSEA.

(B) Administrative actions to establish paternity or a support order require service of process in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.

(1) Section 3111.421 of the Revised Code requires that the notice to a mother and any alleged father regarding an order for genetic testing shall be sent in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure that govern service of process, except to the extent that the provisions of the Rules of Civil Procedure are clearly inapplicable and except that references in the provisions of the Rules of Civil Procedure to the court or to the clerk of the court shall be construed as being references to the child support enforcement agency or the administrative officer. In accordance with rules 4 ( 7/1/2008) and 4.1 ( 7/1/2012) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, service of the genetic testing notice and order shall be made by United States certified or express mail, as evidenced by return receipt signed by any person, or by personal service. As an alternative to service made by the United States certified or express mail, the service may be made by a commercial carrier utilizing any form of delivery requiring a signed receipt.

(a) If the certified, express, or commercial carrier mail is returned to the CSEA because it was unclaimed or refused by the person to be served, the CSEA shall issue the genetic testing notice and order by ordinary, first class mail to the same address to which the certified, express, or commercial carrier mail was sent.

(b) If the certified, express, or commercial carrier mail is returned indicating the addressee is unknown or that the address is invalid, the CSEA may not use ordinary mail service but must make diligent efforts to obtain a valid address for certified, express, or commercial carrier mail service.

(c) If a party for whom service of process was not completed or was unsuccessful appears for genetic testing, the CSEA shall require that party to sign a waiver of service of notice and order to appear for genetic testing. A signed waiver indicates the party has given up his or her right to service of process under the Rules of Civil Procedure and is submitting to the authority of the CSEA for purposes of the proposed action. By signing the waiver, the party also acknowledges his or her rights and responsibilities regarding the proposed action. The CSEA may then proceed with genetic testing and, if appropriate, the establishment of a support order.

(2) Section 3111.46 of the Revised Code requires that an order finding paternity or non-paternity based on the results of genetic testing be issued and sent to parties in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure. In accordance with rule 5 ( 7/1/2012) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, service of the order finding paternity or non-paternity shall be made by ordinary, first class mail to the last known address of the person to be served.

(3) Section 3111.80 of the Revised Code requires that the notice of the administrative hearing to determine child support and the provision for health care is to be sent in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure, except to the extent that the provisions of the Rules of Civil Procedure are clearly inapplicable and except that references in the provisions of the Rules of Civil Procedure to the court or to the clerk of the court shall be construed as being references to the child support enforcement agency or the administrative officer.

(a) In accordance with section 3111.80 of the Revised Code, if the notice of the administrative hearing to determine child support is attached to the administrative order establishing paternity, service shall be made by ordinary, first class mail to the last known address of the person to be served as allowed by section 3111.46 of the Revised Code.

(b) In accordance with section 3111.80 of the Revised Code, if the notice of the administrative hearing to determine child support is not attached to an administrative paternity order but is instead issued as a result of a request made under section 3111.29 or 3111.78 of the Revised Code, service shall be made by certified, express, or commercial carrier mail, as evidenced by return receipt signed by any person, or by personal service.

(i) If the certified, express, or commercial carrier mail is returned to the CSEA because it was unclaimed or refused by the person to be served, the CSEA shall issue the notice and order by ordinary, first class mail to the same address to which the certified, express, or commercial carrier mail is sent.

(ii) If the certified, express, or commercial carrier mail is returned indicating the addressee is unknown or that the address is invalid, the CSEA may not use ordinary mail service but must make diligent efforts to obtain a valid address for certified mail service.

(iii) If a party for whom service of process was not completed or was unsuccessful appears for the administrative hearing to determine child support, the CSEA shall require that party to sign a waiver of service of notice and order to appear for administrative support hearing. A signed waiver indicates the party has given up his or her right to service of process under the Rules of Civil Procedure and is submitting to the authority of the CSEA for purposes of the proposed action. By signing the waiver, the party also acknowledges his or her rights and responsibilities regarding the proposed action. The CSEA may then proceed with the establishment of a support order.

(C) The CSEA shall maintain evidence of proof of service or, if applicable, the signed waiver of service of notice to appear for genetic testing or administrative support hearing.

(D) In accordance with rule 4.2 ( 7/1/2012) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, service may be made upon the following:

(1) An individual other than a person under sixteen years of age or an incompetent person.

(2) The individual's guardian or any of the following persons with whom the individual resides if he/she is under sixteen years of age: the father, mother, or his/her caretaker; or by serving such person if he/she neither has a guardian nor lives or resides with a parent or a caretaker.

(3) An incompetent person's guardian or an individual of authority of an institution if the incompetent person is institutionalized. Service shall be made upon an incompetent person if he/she has neither a guardian nor is institutionalized.

(4) An individual confined to a penal institution of the state or of a subdivision of the state, except when the individual is under sixteen years of age. If the individual is under sixteen years of age, the provisions outlined in paragraph (D)(2) of this rule are applicable.

(5) Service of process upon any other entity or individual shall be made in accordance with paragraphs (F) to (O) of rule 4.2 of the Rules of Civil Procedure (7/1/2012).

(E) Pursuant to section 3121.23 of the Revised Code, except when a provision of the Revised Code specifically authorizes or requires service by other means, service of any notice on any party, a financial institution, or payor, for purposes of Chapters 3119., 3121., 3123., and 3125. of the Revised Code, shall be made by ordinary first class mail directed to the addressee at the last known address or, in the case of a corporation, at its usual place of doing business. A notice shall be considered to have been served when it is mailed.

(F) The CSEA shall make diligent efforts for service of process as follows:

(1) Determine whether the action is for the establishment of paternity or a support order, modification of an existing order, enforcement of the support order;

(2) Determine the appropriate service of process method under this rule;

(3) Utilize the most time-efficient means available to serve process; and

(4) When service is not accomplished initially, it should be attempted periodically;

(a) When service has failed but location information exists, the CSEA must document each service attempt; or

(b) When service fails because the noncustodial parent is not at the most current address, the CSEA shall document this in the case file and resubmit the case for location.

(G) When an action to establish or enforce a support order is dismissed by the court without prejudice, the CSEA shall review the reason for dismissal and determine when it is appropriate to pursue establishment or enforcement in the future. The date, reason of dismissal, and the anticipated date the CSEA will pursue establishment or enforcement of a support order shall be documented in the case record.

(H) Once service of process is achieved, the time frames specified in rule 5101:12-45-05 of the Administrative Code apply.

Effective: 02/01/2013
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 11/01/2012 and 02/01/2018
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 3125.25
Rule Amplifies: 3125.03 , 3125.25
Prior Effective Dates: 8/1/90, 7/15/92, 1/1/98, 2/8/02, 9/1/05, 7/15/07