You may have seen movies or TV shows where someone is served legal papers by someone. But what does that actually mean? What is the service of process?
In this article, we will discuss what the service of process is and how it works. We will talk about how is the server allowed to serve, how to hire a process server, and what you need to do if you are being served legal papers.
What Is a Process Server?
A process server is someone who delivers legal documents to a person or business. This could be anything from a summons to appear in court to a lawsuit or other documents that need to be served.
So, how is the server allowed to serve?
The server is allowed to serve because they have been given the authority by the court to deliver legal documents. In order for the papers to be considered officially served, they must be personally handed to the person named in the documents. The process server cannot just leave them at the door or with a friend or family member.
The papers must also be delivered in a way that follows state and federal laws. This means that the process server must be over 18 years old and cannot lie about who they are or what they are doing.
Hiring a Process Server: What You Need to Do
While you can serve papers on your own, it is always best to hire someone to serve papers in the proper and legal way. Professional process servers are familiar with the law and know how to serve papers correctly. Plus, if there are any problems with the service, you will have someone to help you fix them.
When hiring a process server, you should always check their credentials and make sure they are licensed in your state. You should also ask for references and read online reviews.
Once you have found a good process server, be sure to give them clear instructions on where and how to serve the papers.
Where Can You Find Professional Process Servers?
There are many process servers available online. You can also find them on the yellow pages or by searching Google “process server + your city/state”.
If you need help finding a process server, you can always contact a local law firm or the court clerk’s office. They should be able to give you a list of process servers in your area.
How Far Can Someone Go to Serve Papers?
Process servers have a lot of leeway in delivering legal documents to the recipients. They can pretty much go anywhere to try and serve court papers. This includes following the recipient around, staking out their home or work, or even waiting outside their child’s school.
However, there are some limits to how far they can go to serve papers. For example, they cannot break into the recipient’s home or business or lie to them about who they are or what they are doing. They also cannot threaten the recipient or use force against them.
If a process server is using harassment or any other method that would break the law, the recipient can file a complaint with the sheriff’s office or the court. They can also hire a lawyer to help protect their rights.
Other Ways to Serve Legal Papers
Apart from hiring a service processor legal professionals use, there are also other ways to serve legal papers. These include certified mail, publication, and posting.
With certified mail, the sender mails the documents to the recipient via certified mail with a return receipt requested. This way, they can prove that the recipient received the documents.
In this method, you are required to fill out a form with the recipient’s name and address. You can secure this form from the court’s clerk.
You will also need to include a copy of the documents you send. The post office will then mail the documents and keep a copy of the form and receipt.
Once the documents have been mailed, you will need to file a proof of service with the court. This needs to be done within 30 days of mailing the papers.
In this approach, the legal notice will be given in a newspaper or other types of publication. This is usually used as a last resort when other methods have failed.
In order to use this method, you must first file a motion with the court asking for permission to serve by publication. You will also need to provide proof that you have tried to serve the papers using other methods but have been unsuccessful. Once you have been given permission, you will need to find a publication that is approved by the court.
The notice will then be published for four weeks in a row. After this, you will need to file a proof of service with the court.
This method is similar to publication, but instead of being posted in a public place, the papers are posted on the door of the recipient’s home or business.
Again, you must first file a motion with the court asking for permission to serve by posting. You will also need to provide proof that you have tried to serve the papers using other methods but have been unsuccessful. Once you have been given permission, you will need to find someone who is over 18 years old and not involved in the case to post the papers on the door of the recipient’s home or business. After this, you will need to file a proof of service with the court.
So, which method should you use?
The method you use to serve legal papers will depend on your state’s laws as well as what the court has ordered. You should always check with the court before serving papers to make sure you are using the correct method.
What If You Are the One Being Served Legal Papers?
If you are being served legal papers, it is important to know what to do and what your rights are. The first thing you should do is read the papers carefully. They will contain information about the case as well as what you need to do next. If you have any questions, you should speak with an attorney.
You should also not ignore the papers or try to avoid the process server. This will only make things worse and could result in you being held in contempt of court.
So, if you have been served with divorce papers, for example, you will need to file a response with the court within a certain period of time. Or else, the court may reach a default judgment in favor of the other party, which means they would automatically win the case.
So, it is important to take the service of process seriously and to make sure you know what to do if you are served with legal papers.
Why Would a Process Server Come to My House
There are actually several reasons why a process server would come to your house. However, the most common reason is that you are being served with legal papers because someone has filed a case against you. This could be anything from a summons to a divorce complaint.
Another reason is that you could be holding certain evidence or information that is relevant to a case. The process server may be coming to serve you with a subpoena, which is an order to appear in court or to provide certain evidence.
It could also be that the process server is trying to find someone who lives at your address. This is called “locating” and is often done when someone has been served with papers but has moved and the new address is unknown.
Finally, the process server could be coming to deliver some other types of notice, such as an eviction notice.
What Happens If I Refuse Getting Served Legal Papers
As previously implied, getting served court papers and refusing to respond, or hiding from the process server, is not a good idea. If you do this, the person who is trying to serve you with papers can ask the court for what is called “Substituted Service.
This means that the court will give them permission to serve you in another way, such as by publication or posting. In some cases, the court may even allow them to just hand the papers to someone else in your household over the age of 18.
If alternative service is granted, it will be up to the person trying to serve you how they want to proceed. However, once they have been given permission for an alternative service, they do not have to try regular service again.
Possible Repercussions of Refusing to respond to a Subpoena or Summons
If you are served with a subpoena or summons and you do not respond, the court can hold you in contempt. This is a serious matter and could result in fines or even jail time.
So, it is very important that you take the service of process seriously and make sure you know what to do if you are served with legal papers. Ignoring the papers will not make them go away and will only make things worse.
If you have been served with legal papers, the best thing to do is to contact a lawyer. They can help explain what the papers mean as well as what your options are moving forward.
As the old saying goes, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” This is especially true when it comes to the service of process. Whether you are the one serving legal documents or the one being served, it is important to know what to do and what your rights are.
By knowing how the server is allowed to serve, you can ensure that the process is done correctly and that your rights are protected. And, in case you are the recipient, you should know what to expect and how to respond.
For more useful tips and information related to the law, feel free to check out the other articles on our site!