The problem of serving someone in prison is understandable. Many who are filing for divorce, or other legal matters, or who are filing for a change to an existing court order may not know where to start. First, you would need to know in which facility the person is located. He/she may be incarcerated in a county jail, a state prison or a federal prison.
If the person is in Westchester County jail located at
10 Woods Rd, Valhalla, NY 10595, you can call the facility at (914) 231-1400. However, if the person is in a state prison, then you can search online for the ‘New York State Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation Inmate Locator’ (http://www.doccs.ny.gov/inmateinfo.html) and use the person’s full name. Alternatively, if the person is in a federal prison, you can search online for the ‘Federal Bureau of Prison’s Inmate Locator’. Once you find the correct facility you will want to get the address and phone number as well as the name of the person assigned to serve documents on prisoners. You will also want to know for how long the person will be incarcerated.
Once you have determined the location of the person to be served, you are ready to file the documents in the court and, once filed, you can call us at (914) 380-7006. We will prepare a service packet with your legal documents to be served on the inmate in Westchester County jail. Once we serve the inmate in Westchester County jail, you will receive a ‘proof of service’ within a short period of time.
The Proof of Service is an essential part of any Family Law matter and must be filed with the court when a Divorce, Legal Separation, Annulment, Paternity Action or changes to existing orders for custody, visitation and support of children have been filed. The ‘proof of service’ is formal notification that a petition or request for order has been filed.
Once the person is served, he/she has 30 days to respond. Often, the person served does not respond and a ‘default’ is entered. However, if a response is filed then the action is contested. The respondent may respond because a release from prison is imminent and he/she wants to address the issues. However, sometimes the respondent responds even when he/she will be incarcerated for a very long period of time. A consultation with the Attorney will help make clear your best options in either case.
For more information on serving someone while incarcerated and for other Family Law issues, please call Empire State Legal Services @ 1-888-554-4669 or visit our website