This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Wisconsin. An authenticated copy of the summons may be served by any adult resident of the state where service is made who is not a party to the action. Wisconsin Process Service should be made with reasonable diligence. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

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The summons shall be substantially in one of the Wisconsin Process Service forms specified. However, the application form depends on the type of Wisconsin Process Service and whether a complaint is served with the summons.  Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.


 Anyone not a party to the action may serve an authenticated copy of the summons on any adult resident of the state in which Wisconsin Process Service is made. The Wisconsin Process Service will be provided in a timely manner and with appropriate care. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

Each summons must be signed by the person who serves it and must include information on the time, place, and method of serving it as well as the person on whose behalf it was served. A sheriff or deputy sheriff’s formal title must be given if the server is a sheriff. The Wisconsin Process Service will not be invalidated, but the server will not be paid if the endorsement is not made. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

If Wisconsin Process Service is being put forward, they must provide documentation of service and present it to whoever is receiving it. They must then file said Wisconsin Process Service within a reasonable time. The legitimacy of the Wisconsin Process Service will not be affected if evidence of service is not made, delivered, or filed.

Proof of service should be if the defendant contests the serving of summons on the defendant. A server’s affidavit confirming the date, time, place, and manner of service is proof of personal or substituted personal service. The affidavit must also state that the server is an adult resident of the state where service was made and is not a party to the action. It must also state that the server knew the person served was the defendant named in the summons and that he left an authenticated copy with the defendant. 

To prove that the defendant was not personally served, the server must include in the affidavit the time of day, place, and person with whom the copy was left, as well as any other facts that demonstrate a reasonable effort to serve the defendant personally.

The defendant’s written acknowledgment should be presumptively authenticated by the defendant’s signature or the signature of the defendant’s heirs. The person serving the summons on behalf of the plaintiff must include on the copy of the summons the time and date of service in accordance with the Wisconsin Rules of Civil Procedure. 

Personal jurisdiction may be exercised over a defendant by a court in Wisconsin that has jurisdiction over the subject matter and grounds for it.  The summons may be served in person, either inside or outside this state.

A copy of the summons left at the defendant’s normal residence will suffice if Wisconsin Process Service cannot be accomplished with reasonable care. Under the statute governing substituted delivery of summons or similar Wisconsin Process Service on defendants in cases pending before courts of universal jurisdiction in the state where service is made.

A copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint must be addressed to the defendant at or before the first publication if the defendant’s post office address is known or can be determined with reasonable effort. If the post office address cannot be determined with reasonable effort, the letter might be excluded.  In any event, by delivering the summons to the defendant or an agent authorized to accept service of the summons on behalf of the defendant in accordance with any other laws.

Natural persons with disabilities may be summoned to appear before a court by serving the summons on the person under disability and, if necessary, by the person named. Non-competent minors aged fourteen or older who are not under guardianship are acceptable to receive the documents for purposes of the Wisconsin Process Service.

When a juvenile is under fourteen, the summons must be served separately on a parent or guardian who has custody of the child or on any other person who has the child’s care and control if there is none. After being appointed as a guardian ad litem, the summons will be served on the child’s guardian or other people in charge of the child’s care and control.

A summons must be served on a guardian separately where the plaintiff is aware that the disabled party is under guardianship of any type. Where Wisconsin Process Service is made on an individual known to the plaintiff to be incompetent, then Wisconsin Process Service of the summons must be performed upon an individual designated as guardian ad litem

Upon the state, Wisconsin process Service must be done by presenting or leaving a copy of the summons and complaint with an assistant or clerk at the attorney general’s office in the capital. Upon a political corporation or other body politics, this Wisconsin Process Service is achieved by personally serving any of the specified officers, directors, or agents.  If the action is against a county, the chairperson of the county board or the county clerk will be responsible for accepting service. Similarly,  if against a town, the chairperson or clerk thereof will accept service.

Instead of delivering a copy of the summons to the person specified, the copy may be left in the office of such officer, director, or managing agent with the person who is apparently in charge of the office.

A copy of the summons and complaint must be sent to, or left with, the Attorney General’s office at the state capital by an assistant or clerk on behalf of the plaintiffs. It is assumed that a summons has been served when: [A.] on the day of Wisconsin Process Service, a summons is considered served if the defendant is personally served or if a substituted personal service is made to a person who is authorized to take the summons on behalf of the defendant or [B.] summons served by publishing is considered served on the first day that it is published in accordance with the summons’ requirements.


A subpoena may also be issued by an attorney of record in a civil action or special procedure to force witnesses to appear at a deposition, hearing, or trial in the case. An individual may be ordered to provide the books, papers, records, or other goods specified in a subpoena.

To maintain their right to object, all parties must be notified at least ten days in advance of a planned deposition of a third-party subpoena issued for Wisconsin Process Service discovery reasons. Third parties can subpoena books, papers, documents other physical items that fall under the scope of discovery to get them. Subpoenaed items should not be given prior to the stipulated time and date. 

Courts have the power to quash or modify a subpoena if it is unreasonable or oppressive or to require the person who issued it to pay reasonable costs for producing the books and papers, documents, and tangible things it seeks. Alternatively, the court can require the person who issued it to pay reasonable costs for producing those items.

The State of Wisconsin, when it has issued a subpoena for the County, should provide a formal order from the State of Wisconsin to the individual. Wisconsin Process Service should direct them to appear personally before the court at a specific date and time to give evidence in a legal dispute between the parties named as plaintiff and defendant, whose names are spelled out in the order. If applicable, Wisconsin Process Service should also include a phrase demanding the production of the material. Condemnation for contempt may include monetary fines, jail, and other consequences if a person fails to appear. A handwritten Signature, as well as the date of issuance, should be included.  

Major details should be added to the above requirements for a subpoena mandating the production of material: The subpoena, in this case, must describe as precisely as possible the books, papers, documents, or other physical materials sought. Signed and issued, the subpoena does not need to be sealed.

In any action, matter, or proceeding pending or to be examined before a court, magistrate, officer, arbitrator, board, committee, or other person authorized to take testimony in the state, any judge or clerk of a court or court commissioner or municipal judge may require the attendance of witnesses and the production of lawful instruments of evidence. The subpoena may also approach the Attorney General or any district attorney or person acting for them in their absence to demand witnesses’ attendance in any court or before any magistrate in the state.

If an out-of-state claimant has filed a lawfully issued foreign subpoena and a proposed Wisconsin subpoena to the clerk in the county in which the discovery is sought, the Wisconsin clerk of the circuit court may issue a subpoena for the purpose, pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA)-Wisconsin. The method for requesting this form of subpoena is usually that the requestor must additionally submit a self-addressed, postage-paid mailer for return papers if the procedure cannot be completed online.

This provision requires a clerk of the circuit court in the county where discovery is to be performed in Wisconsin to issue a subpoena after receiving an international subpoena and the proper Wisconsin subpoena form. 

The court issuing the subpoena should be the Wisconsin county where discovery is to be performed. The individual whose subpoena was served must appear in court in the county where the discovery is being performed. For non-natural persons, discovery must be carried out in a jurisdiction where the person has a significant presence and engages in considerable commercial activity. The subpoena must include the witness’s name, address, and county of residence. A foreign jurisdiction’s docket number and the action’s name should be used. It is necessary to include a copy of the foreign subpoena as an attachment and include the phrases used in the international subpoena.

 A Wisconsin subpoena must be quickly signed and issued by a clerk of the circuit court in this state once a party files a foreign subpoena. According to Wisconsin law, an attorney licensed or otherwise permitted to practice law in the state of Wisconsin may sign and issue the subpoena on behalf of a party as an officer of the court. 


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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1. To prove service by sheriff or deputy sheriff of the county in this state where the defendant was found, proof may be provided by sheriff’s or deputy’s certificate of service, indicating time and date, place and manner, and the information required in the preceding sentence if the defendant is not personally served. Proof of service under this paragraph may be provided in the form of an affidavit or certificate on a separate document.

2. The publisher, printer, foreman, or principal clerk must swear under oath that the summons was published and state the date on which each insertion was made. The person mailing the summons must swear under oath that the summons was mailed with the complaint or notice of the subject of the action as required.

3. In the event of a service challenge, a party must demonstrate full adherence to the criteria of this section. In Dietrich v. Elliot, 190 Wis. 2d 816, 528 N.W.2d 17 Dietrich v. Elliot (Ct. App. 1995).

Non-resident service is a basic flaw that necessitates dismissal due to a lack of authority. The decision in the case of Benitez v. Neidermire, 222 Wisconsin 2d 356 (Ct. App. 1998).

4. A NATURAL PERSON WHO IS IMPAIRED. Natural persons with disabilities may be summoned to appear before a court by serving the summons in any way allowed in sub. (1) on the person under disability and, if necessary, by the person named. Individuals who are 14 years of age or older who are not mentally incapacitated and are not under guardianship are exempt from this clause.

5. If against a city, the mayor, city manager, or clerk thereof; 

If against a village, the president or clerk thereof;

If against a technical college district, the district board chairperson or secretary thereof;

If against a school district or school board, the president or clerk thereof; and

If against any other body politic, an officer, director, or managing agent thereof.

6. The time and date of service are included in certain jurisdictions’ interpretations, whereas just the date of service is included in others. This potentially useful information will be documented on every summons issued copy in Wisconsin if it is made clear that both the time and date of service must be mentioned during the service of process. In the event that evidence of service is contested, affidavits and certificates of service must now include the time and date on which service was made.

7. The term “process” in this context refers to the admission of a clerk or an assistant attorney general by the attorney general (3). Atty. Gen. 467, 63. Chilcote v. Shertzer, 372 F Supp. 86,

8. For example, a county board, town, or village committee chairperson may convene a subcommittee to investigate a particular officer’s official conduct and/or affairs.

9. Contain or be accompanied by a list of all lawyers and non-counsel in the process to which the subpoena pertains. When a subpoena is issued, inform the individual receiving it that they may seek remedies under Wisconsin Statutes by petitioning the Wisconsin circuit court for an order of protection to quash or amend the subpoena.


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