This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Montana. Montana’s courts have jurisdiction over everyone who lives or works within its borders, regardless of where they are located. Suppose a claim for relief arises out of any of the following. In that case, it will be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state, including the conduct of any business and the commission of any act that results in the accrual of a court action within Montana.

The courts may acquire Montana Process Service jurisdiction over any individual, either directly or through an attorney or any other authorized officer or employee.


It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to deliver a summons to the clerk for issue as soon as possible after filing a complaint or as soon as possible if they are represented by a counsel. The plaintiff must then serve the Montana Process Service on the defendant if the summons is properly issued and delivered by the clerk to the plaintiff. Requests for separate or extra summonses against any parties named in the original action or against any other parties brought into the action will be issued by the clerk. When a party requests a summons, they are responsible for ensuring that the Montana Process Service is issued and served appropriately.

The defendant’s summons must be addressed to them. Montana Process Service requires that the summons be signed by the clerk, bear the court seal, include the name of the court, the parties, and any attorney the plaintiff has retained, as well as an indication of the time frame in which they must appear and defend. The summons must also inform the defendant that if they fail to do so, judgment will be rendered against them as per Montana Process Service regulations.

A sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, or any person over eighteen who is not a party to the action may serve the party in any county in the state[1]. After mailing the notice and acknowledgment of receipt of the summons, the court must require the person served to pay for the expenses of personal service unless there are sufficient Montana Process Service grounds for not doing so. There must be a written and date-stamped acknowledgment of receipt from the defendant of the summons and complaint. The date of the defendant’s signature on the acknowledgment is taken as the date on which Montana Process Service of summons and complaint is complete.


The plaintiff must serve all documents in one Montana Process Service package. The plaintiff is required to provide as many copies as are required to the person performing Montana Process Service. The summons and complaint may be served on a non-infant or non-incompetent person in two ways: either by personally delivering Montana Process Service to the person or by serving it on an agent designated to receive Montana Process Service, in which case the agent must be given any additional notice required.

To serve the summons and complaint on a person over the age of fourteen, one can either personally deliver one to the person or leave one at the minor’s residence or usual place of abode with an adult who has the appropriate discretion or serve the summons and complaint on an agent who has been appointed or is otherwise legally authorized to receive Montana Process Service.

how to serve legal papers BY PUBLICATION in Montana

A summons by publication must be filed with the clerk of the district court in the county where the action is brought before Montana Process Service may be served. A summons returned without finding any defendant named in the complaint must be accompanied by an affidavit declaring that the defendant is not presently residing in the state[2]. When a plaintiff complies with the Montana Process Service requirements, they may request an order for the delivery of summons by publication, which can be granted by either a judge or the clerk of the court[3].

how to serve legal papers BY MAIL in Montana

A copy of the summons for publication and complaint, with any postage paid and addressed to the defendant at the defendant’s address, unless the affidavit for publication specifies that the defendant’s address is unknown, must be placed at a post office in Montana within ten days of the affidavit for publication being filed.

The affidavit filing for publication must be filed within sixty days after the initial publication of the summons or personal delivery of the summons and complaint upon the defendant out of state. This is the date by which the first outside-of-state publication or Montana Process Service is required to be made. A failure to publish the lawsuit in a timely manner will be regarded as a dismissal of the claim for all parties meant to be served as a result.


A corporation formed under the laws of this state or a corporation formed under the laws of any other state or country that has filed its charter with the Secretary of State’s Office of Montana and is qualified to conduct business in Montana is qualified to receive Montana Process Service in the state[4].  In order for a claim for relief to be granted, a clerk of court must receive an affidavit from an individual who claims that none of the persons designated can be located in Montana and that the last known address of any such person or that no address for any such person could be found following a search, has been found.


Each defendant’s fee of USD 5 should be deposited with the Secretary of State in order to be paid to the Secretary of State. Montana Process Service must be served on the Secretary of State of Montana or, in the Secretary of State’s absence, on the Deputy Secretary of State of Montana. The court clerk must make an order directing this Montana Process Service. if the affidavit states that the affiant did a thorough investigation, the affidavit is adequate proof of the affiant’s thoroughness in their investigation.

After the clerk of the court has sent all of the summons, affidavits, and Montana Process Service fees to the Secretary of State’s office, the clerk of the court will send the originals to the Secretary of State, along with one copy of the summons and one copy of the affidavit for their files. The last known address is sent by the Secretary of State by certified or registered mail with a return receipt sought. If the Secretary of State of the state in which the company was initially formed is aware, it should be reported as a non-Montana corporation.

A copy of the summons and complaint must be delivered to each member of the board of any such public body, including the mayor or head of the legislative department. It is also possible to deliver a copy of the summons and complaint to the attorney general and any other person that may be specified by Montana Process Service guidelines.

A general rule in all other cases where the Secretary of State of Montana is appointed, or deemed by law to be appointed, as the agent for Montana Process Service for any person who cannot with due diligence be found or served in Montana, the parties and their attorneys are required to make an affidavit stating the facts showing that the Secretary of State is the Montana Process Service agent, and stating the residence and last known address of the such person. This service on the Secretary of State is sufficient personal Montana Process Service provided that notice of such Montana Process Service and a copy of the summons and complaint are immediately sent by registered or certified mail by the secretary of state[5].

The Montana Process Service date is the date on which the secretary of state receives the return receipt or the postal authority’s advice that the recipient rejected delivery of the registered or certified mail in question. This Montana Process Service regulation allows the Secretary of State or a deputy to get a copy of the summons and complaint served by any competent law enforcement officer instead of delivering them by registered or certified mail as allowed above. Afterward, the secretary of state or a deputy should send the original summons and affidavit to the clerk of court in which the claim for relief is pending, together with a copy of the notice to the defendant. The clerk of court will include it in the application for relief. A copy of the secretary of state’s affidavit and a copy of the notice to the defendant, if any, must be sent to the plaintiff’s counsel by the secretary of state. A copy of the summons, a copy of the affidavit served on the secretary of state by the clerk of court, and a copy of the affidavit written and issued by the secretary of state should be kept on file in the secretary of state’s office.

A summons must be issued and served within three years of a complaint being filed. Within three years of the date of complaint filing, the court may dismiss an action without prejudice if a plaintiff fails to have a summons issued or to complete Montana Process Service.


A summons must [A.] specify which court issued it; [B.]  specify the title of the action in the court in which it is being heard; and [C.] order each person to whom the summons is addressed to appear and give testimony or to produce and permit inspection of and copying of specified books, documents, and tangible things in the person’s possession, custody or control.  A summons to appear in a trial, hearing, or deposition may be issued in conjunction with or apart from a demand to produce evidence or authorize inspection.

The court in which the case is ongoing will issue a subpoena. The clerk will issue a subpoena to the party that requests it, signed but otherwise blank, so that the party may fill it out before it is served. As an official of the court, a lawyer may also issue and sign a subpoena on behalf of the court where the matter is ongoing.

No party may serve a subpoena unless that individual is at least eighteen. Delivering a copy of a subpoena to a person mentioned in the summons is the method of Montana Process Service. If the individual’s presence is required, the pay for one day’s attendance and the permitted miles should be given to the person. Prior to trial, each party must be supplied with notice of any demanded production of documents and items or inspections of premises.

In order to avoid placing an excessive hardship or cost on the subject of a subpoena, the party or attorney responsible for its issue and delivery must take reasonable precautions. The court that issued the subpoena is responsible for enforcing this obligation and imposing an appropriate penalty, which may include, but is not limited to, lost wages and a fair attorney’s fee[6].

A person commanded to produce and permit inspection and copying, or any person affected thereby may serve upon the party or attorney designated in the subpoena written objection to inspection or copying within fourteen days after service of the subpoena or before the time specified for compliance if such time is less than fourteen days after Montana Process Service. An objector may only view and copy documents or investigate the premises under the court order that issued the subpoena, however, if an objection is raised. The party serving the subpoena may, at any time, petition for an order to compel the production of the requested information if there have been any objections raised[7].

Upon timely motion, the court that issued the subpoena may quash or modify the subpoena if it fails to allow a reasonable time for compliance or requires a person to travel outside of the hundred-mile radius set forth in order to take a deposition or produce evidence before hearing or trial or requires disclosure of privileged or other protected information. There is neither an exemption nor a waiver.

Documents that must be produced in response to a subpoena must be produced in the manner in which they are normally preserved in the course of business or organized and labeled in accordance with the categories requested. Second, the assertion that subpoena-submitted information is protected by privilege or other legal protection must be expressed explicitly. Documents, communications, or other objects that have not been delivered must be described in sufficient detail to allow the requesting party to challenge the claim.

Anyone who refuses to comply with a subpoena issued by a court may be held in contempt of court if there is no reasonable explanation[8].


Subpoenas may be issued in Montana by submitting a foreign subpoena to the county clerk of Montana county, where discovery is to be performed. Montana court clerks must swiftly issue a summons for Montana Process Service to the individual named on the overseas subpoena when a party submits it to the clerk of court in this state pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA)-Montana.

If a clerk of the court issues an order, it must be served in accordance with Montana Process Service regulations. Montana Process Service specifies which county’s court should hear requests to impose an injunction or to enforce, quash, or alter a subpoena issued by a clerk of court. An attorney or an employee of any of the parties should not be allowed to take a deposition, nor may a person who has a financial interest be allowed to take a deposition.


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed, 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.; All documents are received by our receptionist.


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for assistance serving legal papers in montana

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!

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] In order to serve a summons and complaint on a defendant who is not a minor or an incompetent person, or on a foreign, domestic, or unincorporated association by mailing a copy of the summons and complaint, along with two copies of a notice and acknowledgment that substantially conforms to form 18-A, to the person to be served, postage prepaid, is also an option.

[2] Or has departed from the state or cannot be located with reasonable diligence

[3] By publication of the summons three times, once a week for three consecutive weeks, the summons may be served if a newspaper is published in the county where such an action is pending, and if not, in a neighboring county with a broad readership in the county where the action is pending.

[4] A corporation formed under the laws of any other state or country can also receive Montana Process Service but is governed by different Montana Process Service laws

[5] Or a deputy to the party to be served at that party’s last known address, marked “Deliver to Addressee Only” and “Return Receipt Requested,” and provided further that such return receipt shall be requested

[6] Persons ordering the production and examination of books, papers, documents, or physical items (including premises) are not required to present in person until summoned for deposition, hearing, or trial.

[7] Anyone who isn’t a party or an official of a party won’t have to pay for the extensive scrutiny and copying required by such a court order.

[8] This regulation provides a sufficient reason for non-compliance when a subpoena requests attendance or production from a non-party at a location beyond the parameters set out


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