What if the defendant is willing to sign the summons?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2020

If you know the defendant will sign the summons, you do not need to use a sheriff or constable to serve them. You can just mail or give the papers to the defendant.  Ask them to:

  • Go to a notary public.
  • Fill out and sign the section of the summons that says ACCEPTANCE OF SERVICE in front of the notary public.
  • Send the summons back to you.

Make a copy of the signed summons and give the original to the clerk at the court for filing.


Most banks have a notary public. It costs $1.25 to have a document notarized.


"Accepting service" is not agreeing to a divorce or anything else. After the defendant accepts service, return the summons to the court. Then the judge can decide the case even if the defendant does not come to court.

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