What is Process Service?

Process Service is the procedure by which a party to a lawsuit gives notice of initial legal action to another party, court, or administrative body to exercise jurisdiction over that person to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court, body, or other tribunals.

In laymen’s terms: Process Service is the delivery of documents to an individual, business,/organization.  For notification purposes, allowing that individual, business,/organization to respond.  Process Service is also called process service and/or serving process; either term does not change the definition.

Some rules and laws govern process service depending on the jurisdiction/state in which service occurs.  Within New York, more particularly the five boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island), Process Service MUST be handled by licensed process servers.  To obtain a license within the five boroughs, process servers must demonstrate the understanding of all the laws related to Process Service by passing a competence exam related to New York Codes Rules and Regulation (NYCRR), Civil Practice Law & Rules (CPLR), and Federal Rules and Civil Procedure.

How do you select the right process service agency?

How to determine which process server agency to call and how to figure out if they’re the right fit for your case is sure to be an important one, and there can be no doubt that you want to get it right.  There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind as you look for the process server agency that is right for you.  First, the process server agency should be familiar with the laws related to your case. Taking advantage of a free quote can be a great way to get a feel for what the process server agency can offer you and whether or not they treat you as a person or case number.  This idea of being more than a case number is important because it can change how the process server agency handles your case.  This is so often the case because they feel for the struggles of that given area and are invested in the well-being of the people who seek out their help.  If you’ve been less than impressed by a process server agency, you should feel free to find a different process server agency without feeling guilty.  You are a person of worth, and your process server agency should recognize this and treat you accordingly. Your case is individual, and your process server agency should treat it as such.  Using the knowledge and experience that they have gained in cases similar to yours, process server agencies should be able to give you useful information as you proceed through whatever legal steps your case requires.

How much is process service

The fees for process service from a licensed process server agency are determined by the turnaround time; most agencies will provide at least two (2) service levels, while the more experienced agency will offer more options.

Levels of service defined:

  • Routine $100.00-150.00: process servers will make the first (1st) attempt anywhere from 3-5 days to 7-10 days.
  • Rush $200.00-250.00: process server will make the first (1st) attempt anywhere from 3-5 days to the next business day.
  • Same Day $225.00-$275.00: process server will make the first (1st) attempt the same day.
  • Stake-out $325.00 – $425.00 + 100.00 per hour:  process server will show up on the date and duration of time you select.

*Please note the timelines/fees above represent a range that the process service agencies currently offer.  These timelines are critical before selecting a process service agency.  It would help if you were mindful of the time restraints related to your case.  The difference between routine, rush, and same-day service, is the start times; they all require the process servers to make up to three (3) attempts and signed and notarized affidavits. There are a few exceptions, so you need a process service agency that understands all the laws rules related to your service.

What is included with Process Service?

What’s included varies from agency to agency; however, the more experienced process server agencies tend to provide more options to assist in having the party served.  The basics are:

  • A notarized affidavit (which represents what transpired on each attempt).

This is important because it serves as a record of the attempts made and shows the court that you have attempted to have the party served, leading to additional options provided by the court.

Additional options:

  • Basic Skip Trace (locating software)

This option can be beneficial, with difficult services.  Whether a party is attempting to evade service or when they have moved to a new location.

  • Drafting an order for substitute service, in case required.

This is a great tool that the more experienced process server agencies offer to assist in services in which the party is attempting to evade service.

As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for,” which means if you are purely focused on price rather than service, fewer options may be provided to you.

What should I look for before selecting a process service agency?

Before selecting a process service agency, you should take the time to review the qualification of the process service agency by:

  • Reviewing the website of the process service agency;
  • Ask if the process service agency is licensed;
  • Is the process service agency registered with the Better Business Bureau;
  • Does the representative take the time to explain the process;
  • Are the representatives knowledgable;
  • Are there any reviews on the process service agency;

This list should provide a reasonable level of comfort provided that the process service agency meets your qualifications.

What documents do process service agencies serve?

Process servers agencies serve all types of legal documents, including summons and complaints, divorce papers, family court documents, subpoenas, citations, small claims court cases, order to show cause, petitions, discovery documents, evictions, landlord/tenant notices, motions, and more.

For information on serving legal papers, contact a Professional Process Service, call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

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