This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Arkansas. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow for personal service on an individual, which means that a copy of the summons and complaint can be left at the party’s residence, which is of adequate age and discretion, or by delivering the papers to an agent who is authorized by appointment or law in this capacity. Process Service in cases filed in the United States district courts is additionally governed by Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

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The administrative judge of a judicial district, or any circuit judge(s) as permitted by the administrative judge, is allowed to issue an order appointing an individual to make service of process, which is then considered valid for every division of circuit court, and every district court, in the county. A Supreme Court Administrative Order sets out minimum requirements, including familiarity with applicable provisions. Judicial districts can impose additional requirements. 

The individual appointed to serve the process is required to  [A.]be not less than eighteen years old and a citizen of the United States, [B.] have a high school diploma or equivalent; [C.] must not have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year or a crime involving dishonesty or false statement, regardless of the punishment. Additionally, they must have a valid driver’s license and know about the documents being served. Consequently, the appointment order must be carried out with a valid driver’s license. Across the state, these are the main requirements, although each judicial district is allowed to impose additive qualifications. Click here for information on Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure.


Applying with the circuit clerk is necessary to become a court-appointed process server. Even if the applicant is filing in one county for an appointment in one or more counties of the district, it is required to accompany the application with an affidavit with the applicant’s name, address, occupation, and employer, in addition to the minimum qualifications. The judge determines whether the applicant is qualified and shall issue the order to the circuit clerk for a fixed term that does not exceed three years. Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency.

Under Administrative Order No. 20, papers may only be served by someone over the age of 18 who has a high school diploma or equivalent, has not previously been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one (1) year, and has a valid driver’s license from one of the United States and demonstrates familiarity with the various documents to be served. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.


The clerk must immediately issue a summons and transmit it for service to a sheriff or a person designated by the court or authorized by law to serve the process upon receipt of the complaint. When a summons is issued, it must include the court’s seal, be signed by the clerk, and include the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney. It must also include the defendant’s name and address. Other than that, the plaintiff’s address and the deadline for the defendant to attend, submit a pleading, and defend. If they fail to do so, judgment by default may be entered against them for the relief sought in the complaint. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation. 

Any person who is at least eighteen years old and has been appointed by either the court where the action is pending or the court in the county where service is to be made, or a person authorized to serve process under the law of the place outside this state where service is to be made, may serve the summons. Both the summons and the complaint must be served in the same envelope. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked.


The plaintiff is responsible for providing the service provider with copies of any essential documents for their work. Serving summons and complaints to an inmate at a state- or federal-run prison or correctional facility requires the keeper or superintendent to provide a copy to the inmate. If the defendant has a spouse, a copy of the summons and complaint must be sent to them unless the court orders otherwise.

Delivering the summons and complaint to an official of the corporation, partner other than a limited partner, managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by appointment or statute to receive summons is the preferred method of serving in corporation cases. 

Any person or agency of the United States may be served by the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (6) or any other federal legislation.

Delivering the summons and complaint to the chief executive officer or other person designated by appointment or by statute to receive such service or to a state attorney general if such service is accompanied by an affidavit of a party that such officer is unknown or cannot be located, is required to bring suit against the state or municipal corporation.

A default or judgment by default cannot be entered unless a return receipt signed by the addressee or the agent of the addressee is included in the record, as well as a returned envelope, postal document, or affidavit by a postal employee reciting or showing refusal by the addressee. First-class postal delivery of the summons and complaint and a notification that notwithstanding the defendant’s refusal to accept the summons and complaint, the case would continue must be sent to the defendant immediately upon receipt of notice of such refusal. There may be an automatic verdict against them in the litigation without his being present to defend themselves. 


Service should be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the action is filed and by mailing the complaint and warning order to the defendant at their last known address with delivery confirmation. 

Affidavits from parties or their attorneys that the whereabouts of a defendant is unknown after a thorough investigation must be served by a warning order issued by the clerk and posted for a continuous period of thirty days at the courthouse or courthouses of the county in which the action is filed, and by mailing by plain postage stamps. 


The person who serves the summons must provide an affidavit of service to the clerk within the summons’ recipient’s time limit. Signing and returning the certificate of service or return, a sheriff or deputy may prove that they served the summons. 

The court may enable any summons or evidence of service to be altered at any time and on any conditions it considers appropriate unless it seems that serious harm will be caused to the party’s substantial rights against whom the summons is issued.

First and foremost, there is a time limit for the service. Within a hundred and twenty days of the complaint’s filing, if the summons service is not served upon a defendant, the action is dismissed without prejudice upon motion or the court’s initiative. If a request to extend service is filed within a hundred and twenty days of the suit’s filing, the court may grant an extension if good reason is shown. Service is presumed to have occurred on the day the procedure was accepted or rejected if made by mail. 


The clerk must issue a warning order where a party seeks a decision that affects or may impact the rights of individuals who are not and need not be personally subject to the court’s jurisdiction. Notice of the pleadings, description of the property to be affected, and a thirty-day deadline for any interested parties to appear or be barred from responding or asserting their interest should be stated in the warning order, which must be published within thirty days after publication of the warning order. 

Every week, the court’s warning order will be published on its website and in local newspapers for two weeks. Unless the person requesting the judgment or counsel files an affidavit confirming that thirty days have passed after the initial publication of the warning order, no default judgment shall be imposed under this method.

 The affidavit must also show that thirty days have passed since a letter containing a copy of the warning order was sent to the party seeking judgment or their counsel.  


Unless the court directs differently due to many parties in the case, every pleading and other document, including any written interactions with the court that are filed after the complaint, should be served upon each party save one that may be heard ex parte. Parties who have failed to appear in court do not need to be served with anything other than the pleadings alleging new or additional claims for relief. An answer, claim, or appearance must be filed before any service may be made on the person who had custody or control over the property when it was seized; no one else is necessary to be identified as a defendant in such an action.


The court clerk must be notified of any documents that must be served on a party or his counsel before or within a reasonable period following service. The clerk must record the date and time of filing on the document. A motion for a writ of habeas corpus must include the relevant sections of any discovery papers pertinent to the motion unless such documents have already been filed. It is unacceptable for a clerk to refuse to accept filing a document because it is not formatted correctly.

A facsimile fee of a dollar per page may be charged for any material submitted under this regulation if the clerk’s office possesses a facsimile machine. The authenticity of any signature on a facsimile copy is assumed unless the contrary is demonstrated. The clerk will stamp or otherwise mark it as filed as soon as a facsimile copy has been received on the clerk’s machine during regular business hours. If the clerk’s office is closed, it must be filed as soon as it reopens the following day.

If the judge permits papers or pleadings to be filed, they must write the filing date on the document and immediately forward it to the clerk’s office for processing.  Additionally, there must be a declaration by the party or attorney who filed the pleading or other document requiring service that a copy has been served, including the date and mode of service and if it was sent through the mail to each person served at their respective addresses.


When a subpoena is issued, it must be issued with the court’s seal, stating that it’s for a specific case and requiring the individual to come and testify at the time and location stated.

Individuals may also be ordered to provide the books, documents, or other goods specified in a subpoena. But if the subpoena is deemed unreasonable or oppressive by the court, it may either [A.] quash or modify the subpoena, or [B.] condition denial of the motion on the payment of the reasonable cost of producing the books, papers, documents, or tangible things.

Whenever a party requests a subpoena, the court clerk in which the case is pending should provide it, signed and sealed, but otherwise blank, to the party asking it. The party requesting it will then fill it out before delivery. It does not matter which county a witness lives in; they are compelled to appear for questioning at a trial or hearing in any civil action in this state if served at least two days before the date. The court may permit a subpoena to be issued within two days of a trial or hearing. 

Payment of a witness fee of USD 30.00 per day for attendance and $0.25 per mile for transport from the witness’s home to the trial or hearing location must be included with the subpoena. Before or during the witness’ attendance in court, the party who served the subpoena must pay the summons’ fee, regardless of whether it was served by telephone or otherwise. Re-serving the subpoena if a delay is permitted and proper notice is given to the witness is not required. Subpoenaed witnesses must stay in the courtroom until they are dismissed by the party that summoned them or by the court after testifying. A party that issues the subpoena may only view and copy the papers if the court orders it, and if an objection is raised, the deposition cannot be utilized in court without the court’s permission. At any moment before or during a deposition, a subpoena-issuing party may request an order from the court if an objection has been raised. 

how to domesticate an OUT-OF-STATE SUBPOENA in Arkansas

Issuing an out-of-state subpoena under the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA)-Arkansas, the clerk of the court in the county where discovery is to be performed in this state must be presented with a foreign subpoena before it may be requested that a subpoena be issued under this section. Subpoenas issued under this law do not obligate a person to appear in court in Arkansas.

Second, the court clerk in this state must swiftly issue a summons to the person to whom the international subpoena is sent, in line with that court’s process.

A subpoena issued for a foreign defendant must include: [A.]   the terminology appropriate for the subpoena from abroad; and [B.]  part of the subpoena, it must include or be accompanied by the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all counsel of record and of any party that counsel does not represent.

Written by: Undisputed Legal Inc.


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to, mailed, or dropped off at any of our locations. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC. Our receptionist will receive all the documents.  Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!


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Pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922, or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Arkansas process service needs; no job is too small or too large!  For a complete list of our Arkansas Process Service Coverage Areas, Click Here!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide process service to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

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1. By statute. Ar. R. Civ. P. 4(c) 

2. Pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(2)

3. By court order. .Ar. Sup. Ct. Adm. Order No. 20

4. Arkansas Supreme Court Order Number 20

5.  By personal delivery in the same manner prescribed for serving a document within this state; (2) In any manner prescribed by the law of the place where service is being made; (3) By mail, as provided by subdivision (d)(8) of the Rule of Civil Procedure; (4) As directed by a foreign court, if the foreign court has jurisdiction over the matter. 

6. Rule 55 (c) provides that a default or judgment by default may be set aside if the return receipt was signed by someone other than the addressee or if delivery was denied by someone else.

7. Not applicable for lawsuits against unknown tortfeasors

8. Rule 4(d) requires that a return receipt, envelope, affidavit, or other document be attached to an affidavit produced by someone other than a sheriff or their deputy when service is made by mail (8). A relevant treaty or convention may be relied upon to demonstrate that an employee has served in a foreign nation under Rule 4(e)(4).

9. Delivery was restricted to the addressee or their representative through mail delivered to the addressee’s last known location.

10. Which must be delivered by Rule 4 on summons service

11. If the court so orders, documents such as depositions, interrogatories, production requests, proposed findings of fact, proposed legal conclusions, and trial briefs, as well as answers thereto, may be filed with the clerk


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