This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Iowa. Giving an individual who is being sued notice by the act of delivering court documents to them is a fulfilling process service. This alerts them that court proceedings may be set into motion. An original notice and petition must be sent to the opposite party once the lawsuit has been filed to fulfill Iowa Process Service requirements.

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Service of process is the act of delivering legal paperwork to the opposite party in the lawsuit. Various circumstances may need different techniques of assistance and different forms of Iowa Process Service. The opposite party in the lawsuit must be served with the Iowa Process Service legal documents before the case may proceed. When necessary or authorized by Iowa Process Service rule or legislation, a party or its agent or attorney may accept an acknowledgment of service and deliver a copy of the original notice. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

To knowingly refuse or hinder the service or execution of any civil or criminal process or order by any authorized person is a misdemeanor in Iowa. 


‘Service’ or ‘service of process means the formal delivery of a legal document, such as a complaint or petition, to ensure that the opposing party is aware of the action and is given an opportunity to respond. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case

‘Personal service’ refers to the delivery of the notice to the person it is directed to and is usually required to start most lawsuits. Personal service is typically performed by a sheriff or process server. Iowa Process Service by publication is allowed under certain circumstances, usually when a defendant cannot be located.

Using the correct form of Iowa Process Service is very important and difficult to determine. The individual should talk to an attorney if they have questions about the proper means of Iowa Process Service as per the rules of the particular court.

 The person appointed as the advocate or prosecutor for the state or the agency must be served with every pleading, motion, document, or other paper filed in a disputed case proceeding and every Iowa Process Service paper relevant to discovery concurrently with its filing unless otherwise permitted by law. Unless otherwise directed, Iowa Process Service on a party represented by an attorney must be made to the attorney. Depending on the presiding officer’s discretion and the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure, Iowa Process Service may be performed in person or by sending a copy to the subject’s last-known address. Iowa Process Service is complete when a physical or electronic letter is sent unless legislation, regulation, or order specifies otherwise.

To begin a court case, the individual must submit pleadings, motions, documents, and other Iowa Process Service materials to the presiding officer. The presiding officer must receive all pleadings, motions, documents, and other items that must be served on a party simultaneously. When a filing is completed, care must be taken that Iowa Process Service is complete and delivered to an established courier service for immediate delivery to the presiding officer, delivered via electronic mail or fax, delivered to the presiding officer by first-class mail or state interoffice mail, provided there is proof of mailing. Only after the Iowa Process Service is verified can a document be filed.

A readable USPS postmark on the envelope, a certificate of service, a notarized affidavit, or a certification in essentially the prescribed form are all acceptable forms of proof of sending.

Complaints, summonses, and subpoenas may be served on people who are not peace officers, constables, sheriffs, or properly designated deputies of such authorities to comply with the Iowa Process Service. The sheriff’s office or a private process serving business may deliver the ‘Original Notice’ and ‘Petition’ for the individual if the applicant provides said Iowa Process Service documents. This is by far the most prevalent method of giving legal notice. The documents are delivered to the opposite party by the sheriff’s office or a qualified process server. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

These Iowa Process Service materials cannot be delivered by any individual who is affiliated or interested in the case. An unaffiliated person should serve the documents, as requested by the Court. The sheriff’s office or the process server must then file a notice with the court stating whether or not the subject was served with the Iowa Process Service documents.

If notice is not provided per Iowa Process Service rules, the court will not hear the case, and the court will eventually dismiss the lawsuit if adequate service is not provided. It is necessary to ensure the signed acceptance of service by a person receiving legal documents, that personal service is done by the sheriff or a process server, or that notice is provided by publication or certified mail. Depending on the specific circumstances, the individual may also use other notification methods, such as mail or a sign on the front door.

It is necessary to serve an Iowa Process Service notice in the form and manner prescribed to the defendant, respondent, or any person against whom an action has been brought. When necessary or authorized by law, a party or its agent may accept an acknowledgment of service and deliver a copy of the original notice.

Within ninety days of the petition being filed, if the original notice is not served on the defendant (or responder), respondent, or another person to be served within this period, the court may dismiss the case without prejudice to that defendant or mandate an alternative time and method of Iowa Process Service. A reasonable extension of time may be granted by the court in cases where the party submitting the papers can demonstrate good cause for the failure to serve the other party.

The original notices are served by providing a copy of the Iowa Process Service notice to the relevant individual. There are a number of ways that the individual may receive personal service.


If the individual is a minor, a copy of the Iowa Process Service notice must be served to the individual’s residence. Still, if the individual is staying in a hotel or other establishment, a copy must be served to a person who is at least eighteen (18) years of age. Still, if the individual’s residence is in a rooming house, club, or apartment building, the copy must be served to a person at least eighteen (18) years of age. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

By serving any current, active, or last known official of the partnership… association… or corporation, or by serving an agent or person presently authorized by appointment or law to accept service of the original notice on the general partner of a partner.


State approval is required for litigation in cases where it has been constituted a party by statute. Iowa Process Service laws apply in the case of any person, company, or partnership that may be identified by a common name and is subject to these rules or any relevant statutes requiring permission to service.

Serving as a presiding officer, clerk, or secretary for a governmental board, commission, or agency would be considered in accordance with Iowa Process Service. Any defendant may be served in accordance with due process if Iowa Process Service cannot be effected in accordance with the rule’s procedures. 

The right to serve an original notice on any company, individual, personal representative, partnership, or association within or outside of this state in any method now or hereafter authorized by law or regulation is not affected by this agreement.


The signatures of sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, peace officers, bailiffs, and marshals may be taken judicially by the court. The affidavit of the individual who performed the service is required to establish all other returns. A person must sign a document stating that they got the original notice and petition from the petitioner for the notice to be accepted by the court. The acceptance is then submitted to the court for review. 

A return of personal service must include the date, time, and location of delivery, as well as the name of the person to whom a copy was provided under Rule 1.305(1) to a person other than the defendant, must be provided.  Iowa Process Service must also indicate the facts demonstrating compliance with such a rule. The person tasked with serving the Iowa Process Service must provide the court with evidence of service as soon as possible and, if possible, within the period given to the person served with the process to reply.

Affidavit verification of mailing is required for Iowa Process Service, including notice. The affidavit must be submitted to the court as soon as possible, with a duplicate copy of the materials cited in the affidavit. The court can change any Iowa Process Service or evidence of service at any time unless it is evident that the defendant’s substantial rights will be adversely affected.


After attempting to serve the other person and failing, notice by publishing might be employed. In order to complete Iowa Process Service to the other party, the court must consider the case and determine whether or not the petitioner may publish a notice in a newspaper to accomplish this goal. Once a week for three weeks, they will then pay for the notice to be published in a local newspaper’s ‘Legal Notices’ section.

Iowa Process Service through publication is not permitted in certain circumstances. Before utilizing this service, the petitioner must seek permission from the court and pay a fee to have the notice published in the newspaper.


In certain small-claims situations, certified mail may be used as a method of Iowa Process Service. Certified mail is a technique of sending that provides the sender with documentation that the recipient has received the documents they have requested. Certifiable mail cannot be used for Iowa Process Service in specific circumstances. In eviction hearings, Iowa Process Service via certified mail is not permitted. Certified mail costs less than other delivery options.

In certain minor claims proceedings, such as money judgment suits, the petitioner may only use certified mail as notice. In eviction proceedings, certified mail alone is not adequate for service. When a lawsuit is filed against another individual, the ‘Original Notice’ is the traditional notification form. It informs readers of their legal right to participate in the proceedings. To launch a lawsuit, the individual must submit a ‘petition’ to the clerk of the court’s office.


Subpoenas must be issued under the seal of the court, stating the name of the court and the name of the action, and the clerk must demand each individual to present and testify at the time and location stated. An unsigned and sealed blank subpoena will be sent to the party seeking it, and the party must fill it up before serving.

It is also possible for a subpoena to demand that a specific person produce a specific set of documents or other tangible items. However, a motion to quash or modify this subpoena must be made promptly and in any event before the time specified for compliance; or, if it is deemed unreasonable and oppressive, it may be conditioned upon the advancement of a reasonable explanation by whoever is requesting it.

Generally, a subpoena may be served by anybody over eighteen, as long as they are not a party to the case. The individual identified in the subpoena shall be served with a copy of the subpoena and the fees and mileage authorized by law for one day’s attendance, which shall be delivered to that person. Subpoenas issued on behalf of the State, an official, or an agency are exempt from the requirement that costs and travel be paid upfront.

In order for the clerk of the district court to issue subpoenas to the individuals mentioned or described therein, a party’s request is sufficient authorization. Subpoenaed documents may be inspected or copied only if the person to whom the subpoena is addressed files a written objection within ten days of the serving of the subpoena or within the period stated in the subpoena for compliance if such time is less than ten days after Iowa Process Service. Subpoenaed papers may only be seen and copied under the court order from whence the subpoena was issued if an objection is raised.

The copy must [A.] Include a specific citation since the secretary of state may refuse to accept such service if the proper citation is not included; [B.] be accompanied by a fee of ten dollars. The secretary of state will keep a copy of the legal process received in their office for at least one year after receipt and will make those records available for public inspection during normal business hours.

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

Issuing an out-of-state subpoena pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA)-Iowa, 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 Iowa.

Second, the clerk of a court 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 with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all counsel of record and of any party that counsel does not represent.


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment 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 documents.  Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!


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Simply 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 process service needs; no job is too small or too large!  For a complete list of our Iowa Process Service Coverage Areas, Click Here!

Contact us for more information about our process serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process 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. Iowa Statutes; Section 719.1 Interference with Official Acts of Government, Chapter 719

2. Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure 1.302 and 1.305-.315 set forth various means of service.

3. There are only two exceptions to this general rule: the initial notice of hearing and an application for rehearing according to Iowa Code § 17A.16(2).

4. Except as otherwise provided in the preceding paragraph, any process issued by a court in this state may be served by any of the following individuals:

  • An officer of the law who is engaged by any governmental entity…
  • A sheriff or a deputy sheriff appointed by him…
  • In accordance with the legislation, a constable…
  • An official state investigator…

5. Rule 1.302(5) allows anybody who is not a party or an attorney for a party in the case to serve original notifications.

6. 1305(4) Any individual incarcerated in a county-run prison is included in this definition.

7. Section 1305(3) applies to any individual who has been found incapable.

8. It is permissible to serve any of the entities listed in Rule 1.305 inside or outside of the state, or if such service cannot be made, in any way compatible with due process of law specified by the court where the action is instituted, as long as such service is consistent with due process of law.

9. Any fees or mileage above and above the Iowa Code section 331.655 allowances charged by anybody other than an Iowa sheriff or peace officer to serve them in the state of Iowa or another state will be taxed.


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