This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in West Virginia. It is always necessary before the serving process to ensure that the summons is authentic. Different states have different requirements, but in West Virginia, the summons must be signed by a clerk, be stamped with a court seal, and identify the parties involved, as well as the court and the defendant. In addition, West Virginia Process Service must inform the defendant that failure to appear and defend will result in a judgment by default against the defendant for the complaint’s relief. A summons may be amended by the court. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

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The clerk will issue a summons to be served immediately after the complaint is filed, as directed by the plaintiff. A summons, or a copy of the summons, will be issued to each defendant to be served if the summons is addressed to more than one defendant. Click Here for information on What Do Process Servers in West Virginia Do!

A summons and a copy of the complaint must be served together. Second, anyone over eighteen who is not a party to the agreement may assist in the performance of the West Virginia Process Service. In the event that the plaintiff requests and pays the applicable fees and costs of West Virginia Process Service, the clerk is required to [A.] deliver the summons and complaint to the sheriff for West Virginia Process Service as directed by the plaintiff or [B.] conduct West Virginia Process Service by either certified mail or by the first class mail as directed by the plaintiff, or [C.] send a copy of the summons and complaint to the Secretary of State. Click here for information on West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure

West Virginia Process Service on a person who is not an infant, an incompetent person, or a convict can be accomplished by either personally delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the individual or delivering a copy to a member of the individual’s family who is at least sixteen (16) years old and informing that person of the summons and complaint’s content. Alternatively, this West Virginia Process Service may also be done by serving the summons and complaint on a person who is otherwise not interested. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to take all necessary copies of the complaint or order and to cover the costs of service. The plaintiff must pay the clerk a fee of ten dollars per complaint served to have it served by certified mail. To serve a complaint by first-class mail, the plaintiff must pay a fee of five dollars to the clerk of the court. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

As long as there is no record showing that the defendant accepted the registered or certified mail, there is no basis for an entry of default or a judgment on default. A copy of the summons and complaint and a notice that, despite the defendant’s refusal to accept delivery of the summons and complaint, the case will proceed and judgment by default will be rendered against the defendant unless the defendant appears to defend the suit will be mailed to the defendant by first-class mail, postage prepaid, upon receipt of the notice of such refusal. Defaults and judgments by default are voidable if the defendant can show the court that the return receipt was signed by an unauthorized person or that delivery was denied.  Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

Without a good reason for the delay, the court may compel the person served to pay for personal service if the notice and acknowledgment of receipt of summons and complaint are not completed and returned within twenty (20) days after mailing. For an entry of default or a judgment by default to be entered, the record must show that the summons and complaint were received and acknowledged in writing. 

In the case where no officer, director, or trustee can be located, a copy of the summons and complaint may be delivered to any agent of the corporation, including a depot or station agent in the actual employment of the company but excluding, in the case of an insurance company, a local or soliciting agent. 

Any agent or attorney authorized to receive or accept West Virginia Process Service on its behalf by appointment or legislation will be able to receive or accept a copy of the document by delivery or mailing.  Corporations that are owned and operated by residents of the United States.

The summons and complaint may be served on a foreign corporation, including a trust, that is not authorized to conduct business in this state by either delivering or mailing copies to any officer, director, trustee, or agent of the corporation or by delivering or mailing copies to any agent or attorney authorized by appointment or statute to receive or accept service on behalf of the corporation.

In the case of an unincorporated association, a copy of the summons and complaint may be delivered to any officer, director, or governor thereof or to any agent authorized by appointment or by statute to receive and accept West Virginia Process Service on its behalf; or, if no such officer, director, governor, appointed or statutory agent or attorney, in a copy of the summons and complaint may be delivered to or mailed. The publisher’s certificate of publication serves as proof of the notice’s publication in the court.

There must be an order of publication stating that all defendants named in action must appear and defend themselves within thirty days after publication, or else judgment by default will be rendered against them. The order of publication must also state that a copy of the complaint can be obtained from the clerk and that if no one appears and defends within that period, the action will be dismissed by default. Every publication order must be published in a county-wide newspaper with general circulation once a week for two consecutive weeks (or for a period as may be prescribed by statute, whichever period is longer). The publisher’s certificate of publication serves as proof of service by publication and must be filed with the court. 

It is possible for a plaintiff to serve a nonresident defendant or a foreign corporation or business trust whose principal office is located in another state but for which no officer, director, trustee, agent, appointed or statutory agent, or attorney can be found, even if West Virginia Process Service has been attempted previously. The summons must advise the defendant that if the defendant fails to appear and defend within thirty days of the date of mailing, judgment by default will be entered against the defendant. Except for records establishing that the defendant has refused certified mail or a return receipt confirming acceptance, West Virginia Process Service is not sufficient to support entry of an uncontested judgment by default. 

Any defendant may be served personally with a copy of the summons and complaint outside this state. To serve a person in this state, one must file an affidavit with the court detailing facts proving that the defendant is an actual resident. In either situation, the summons informs the defendant that they have thirty days from the date of service to appear and defend themselves. Otherwise, the defendant will be held liable for any subsequent judgment against them based on a default judgment.

The person who serves or publishes a notice or order must provide the court with evidence of West Virginia Process Service or publication immediately. The person served will reply to the process, notification, or order at any point within that period. Anyone other than the sheriff or clerk who serves the document must affidavit their actions. The legality of a process, notice, or order is not jeopardized by a failure to provide evidence of service or publication in a timely manner.

Unless it is clear that material prejudice would be caused to the substantial rights of the party against whom the West Virginia Process Service, notice, or order was issued or entered, the court may allow any process, notice, order, or proof of service or publication, to be amended at any time and on such terms as it deems.

Within a hundred and twenty days of the filing of the complaint, the court, on motion or its initiative after notice to the plaintiff, will dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or direct that service be effective within a specified time.


Every subpoena must be issued in the name of the State and should include the name of the court, the civil action number, and the title of the lawsuit. Additionally, West Virginia Process Service must also, at a time and place therein specified, command each person who has been summoned to give testimony or produce and allow inspection and copying of designated books and documents in the possession and custody or control of the individual or allow inspection of premises. 

 A summons to appear at a trial, hearing, or deposition may be issued in conjunction with or separately from a command to produce evidence or permit inspection. It is the circuit court’s job to issue subpoenas that require witnesses to appear in person at a hearing or trial. An order to appear at a deposition must be issued by a court in the circuit designated by the notice of deposition as the location of the deposition. 

The clerk will issue a blank subpoena to the party requesting it, and the party must fill it out before it can be served. A subpoena can be issued and signed by an attorney in their capacity as an officer of the court.

A subpoena can be served by anyone over eighteen who is not a party to the proceedings. Service of subpoenas on persons named therein should be made in the same manner provided for service of process, and the fees for one day’s attendance, and the mileage allowed by law, must be paid to those persons if requested. Fees and mileage are not required when a subpoena is issued on behalf of the State or a government officer, or an agency.

If proof of service is required, the person who served the subpoena must certify the date, manner, and names of those served and file the statement with the clerk of the court where the subpoena was issued. An examination can only be held in the county where the deponent resides, works, or conducts business in person or at such other location as the court orders.

Subpoenas must be issued and served in an effort to avoid inflicting an unreasonable hardship or cost on those who are required to comply with them. Courts can enforce this obligation and impose an appropriate penalty on the party or attorney who fails to comply with this obligation, including but not limited to the loss of income and reasonable attorney’s fees. Except in the case of deposition, hearing, or trial, a person compelled to produce and allow inspection and copying of specified documents or physical items does not need to be in person at the location of production or inspection.

Within fourteen days after West Virginia Process Service of the subpoena or before the time specified for compliance, a person commanded to produce and allow inspection and copying may serve upon the party or attorney designated in the subpoena written objection to inspection or copying of any or all of the designated materials or the premises. As long as an objection is made, the party serving the subpoena will not be able to inspect and copy any materials or inspect any premises unless the subpoena was issued under court order. The party serving the subpoena may, at any time, move for an order to compel the production of the requested information. Any non-party or officer of a party may be protected against substantial costs arising from the examination and copying mandated by such an order to compel production.

If a motion to quash or modify a subpoena is made in a timely manner, the court that issued the subpoena may do so. Documents must be produced as they are stored in the normal course of business or organized and labeled in accordance with requested categories in response to a subpoena. Second, the claim of privilege or protection as trial preparation materials must be asserted explicitly when a subpoena-submitted piece of information is withheld. By providing a detailed description of any documents, conversations, or other items which have not been provided in order 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. An appropriate reason for non-compliance occurs when a subpoena claims to compel the attendance of a non-party deponent at a location outside of the restrictions set out. 

Obtaining a subpoena in this state requires submitting a foreign subpoena to the county clerk where discovery is to be performed, pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA)-West Virginia. Subpoenas issued under this legislation do not require a person to appear in front of a judge. A clerk of court in this state must quickly issue a subpoena for service on the person to whom a foreign subpoena is addressed, in accordance with the process of that court.

A subpoena should contain or be accompanied by the names of all counsel of record and non-counsel parties involved in the action to which the subpoena pertains and of any party not represented by counsel and incorporate the terms of the foreign subpoena.


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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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. A copy of the summons and complaint must be sent to the guardian or conservator of an infant or incompetent under the age of 14 who resides in the State, or if no such guardian or conservator can be identified, to the infant or incompetent’s father or mother, if they can be discovered. In the absence of a guardian or conservator, as well as the inability to locate the child’s biological parent, the summons and complaint must be served on a guardian ad litem.

2. Service of process shall be made on a guardian ad litem appointed under Rule 17 on a person confined in a penitentiary in this state or any other state or the United States; or, if there is no such committee, guardian, or like a fiduciary resident in the State, or if the committee, guardian, or like fiduciary is a plaintiff, service of process shall be made on a guardian ad litem appointed.

3. A summons and complaint notification and acknowledgment must be made in the manner indicated on Form 14.

4. A convicted felon who has completed the punishment and paid all fines set by the court’s judgment is considered to be a credible person for service of process. State ex rel. Wolfe v. King, 443 S.E.2d 823 (W.Va. 1994).

5. Provided, however, the court shall extend the service time for a good cause. 

6. In order to comply, the court requires the disclosure of an unretained expert’s opinion or information that does not describe specific events or occurrences in dispute and that was not commissioned by any party. Suppose the subpoena is issued in the interest of justice. In that case, the court has the power to quash or modify the subpoena, or, if the subpoena is issued in the interest of justice and the person to whom it is addressed is reasonably compensated, the court can order the appearance or production of the person to whom the subpoena is addressed only on specified conditions.


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