Civil Process Division
132 Portland Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 704-6999
Fax: (617) 704-6998
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does it take to get a return of service after I send the paperwork to the office?
A: From start to finish, the process usually takes about two weeks for an average summons. Depending on the type of service, this estimate may vary.
Q: My invoice said that I will be receiving a refund check in the mail. How long until it arrives?
A: Refunds are generated twice each month, so expect the check in the mail within two weeks of receiving the invoice.
Q: I seem to have made a mistake on one of my documents. Can someone change it for me before it goes out for service?
A: The clerks at the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office may correct your documents with written permission. If you realize you have made a mistake, please mail, deliver, or fax a letter indicating your permission for the change and the exact change that needs to be made.
Q: I know who I need to serve, but I don’t know the address. Can you look this up for me?
A: The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office is not authorized to provide any contact information for persons or businesses. You must provide all of the service information.
Q: Instead of a return of service, I received a paper describing a “Diligent Search.” What does this mean?
A: A Diligent Search means that the sheriff made an honest attempt to complete service on the requested party and for some reason was unable to do so. The most common reasons for a Diligent Search usually involve wrong address information, a party who has recently changed residences or place of business, or refusal to accept service. A Diligent Search may be brought to the courthouse instead of a standard return of service to request an alternative method of service. Please note, however, that a Diligent Search does not count as complete service.
DISCLAIMER: The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Civil Process Division, which administers this Web Site, does not provide legal assistance or advice. If you need such advice or assistance, you may wish to consult an attorney. This Web Site is provided as a public service. The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Civil Process Division assumes no liability for the use of the information provided herein. Many links from this site are to sites over which the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Civil Process Division assumes no authority or control. The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Civil Process Division assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or veracity of the information that a user may encounter at these sites.