What is Service of Process?
A service of process, or simply known as process service, is a legal procedure in the United States, which declares all parties must be notified when facing legal action against them in a court of law or an administrative court. Process service is accomplished through the delivery of a set or series of documents describing the legal action. Examples of documents that comprise service of process include summonses, complaints, subpoenas , writs, and other court documents. These documents are delivered to the individual whom the legal action is directed by a process server. Service of process must be served by an individual who is not a party to the case.
United States legal procedure requires that each party in a case should be notified if actions are taken against them in a court of law. Process serving is an important aspect of the Due Process of Law.
Process serving laws and rules of civil procedure are different from state to state. You should visit the State Rules of Civil Procedure section of Serve-Now.com to learn more about service of process in your state.
One type of service is called “substituted service”. This legal process of service is when the documents are left with an adult resident of the named party at the target’s home, or with a management level employee at their place of business. There are also circumstances when posting in a prominent place (followed up by a certified mail copy) is an accepted method of service.
Who can serve papers?
When service of process was first instituted, sheriffs or deputies, and agents of the court performed this important aspect of due process. This became a burden on law enforcement, so the legislation changed. Now, in many states, any US citizen that is not a party to the case, over the age of 18, and residing in the state where the matter is to be tried in court can serve papers.
Keep in mind that process serving laws differ from state to state and may change. Some states require that process server be licensed, some require registration with the county and in some states, they are required to post a surety bond.
A legal process server delivers (serves) court documents to the defendant or individual listed on the legal document being served. The process server must serve the documents in accordance with the legislation in the area of service. This may mean handing the documents to the defendant personally or performing substituted service to someone in the same household or business. Once a process server delivers the documents, an Affidavit of Service, also called a Proof of Service, is notarized and given to the party who requested the service.
Process servers will also file your papers with the courts, can do document retrieval, and may offer various types of investigations: skip trace, people locates, surveillance, etc.