H. B. 2521
(By Delegate Frazier)
(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)
[January 13, 2012]
A BILL to amend and reenact §48-27-311 and §48-27-701 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to prevention and treatment of domestic violence generally; eliminating the requirement of serving domestic violence orders by certified mail where personal service fails; authorizing fee to law enforcement for service of process; and clarifying that personal service must be attempted at every address for respondent provided by petitioner.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §48-27-311 and §48-27-701 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 27. PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
§48-27-311. Service of process.
A protective order may be served on the respondent by means of a Class I legal advertisement published notice, with the publication area being the most current known county in which the respondent resides, published in accordance with the provisions of section two, article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code if: (1) The petitioner files an affidavit with the court stating that an attempt at personal service pursuant to Rule 4 of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure has been unsuccessful or evidence is adduced at the hearing for the protective order that the respondent has left the State of West Virginia; and (2) a copy of the order is mailed by certified or registered mail to the respondent at the respondent's last known residence and returned undelivered if personal service by law enforcement has been unsuccessful. Simultaneously with the publication, the respondent shall be served with the protective order and the order of publication by first class mail to the respondent’s most current known residential address.
Any protective order issued by the court of this state which is served in compliance with the provisions of Rule 4(f) of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure served outside the boundaries of this state shall carry the same force and effect as if it had been personally served within this state’s boundaries.
§48-27-701. Service of pleadings and orders by law-enforcement officers.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, all law-enforcement officers are hereby authorized to serve all pleadings and orders filed or entered pursuant to this article on Sundays and legal holidays. No law-enforcement officer shall refuse to serve any pleadings or orders entered pursuant to this article. Law enforcement shall attempt to serve all protective orders without delay: Provided, That service of process shall be attempted within seventy-two hours of law enforcement’s receipt of the order. to every address provided by petitioner. Any law-enforcement agency that serves pleadings or orders pursuant to this section may receive the fee authorized therefor by Rule 4 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for Domestic Violence Civil Proceedings. If service is not made, law enforcement shall continue to attempt service on the respondent until proper service is made.