WHAT DOES A PROCESS SERVER DO?

This article will provide guidance on What Does A Process Server Do? A process server is “a trained professional who delivers legal papers to defendants who have been identified in a judicial case,” as one possible description states. Although their part in the judicial system may seem deceptively little, it is rather significant. A process server is an independent third party whose function is to deliver legal papers to defendants, usually by hand. In addition to fulfilling this obligation, they must also provide appropriate paperwork in accordance with local legislation and maintain service of process records that are acceptable in court.

 A process server’s licensure, certification, and registration have to be researched on a state-by-state basis. It is important only to employ a process server that follows all the rules in their area of the law.

BACKGROUND

It is impossible to begin a legal procedure without first ensuring that the proper serving of the process has been accomplished. It makes no difference if, after the serving process, the individual being served chooses to retain legal representation. A simple warning is sufficient. Any defendant who chooses to disregard the judicial process does so at their own risk.

The filing of a petition or complaint with the court marks the beginning of a lawsuit. When such happens, a court order or summons will be issued. A defendant is formally notified of a lawsuit’s existence and served with a summons, which includes a copy of the complaint and any relevant court documents. Depending on the specifics of the action and the rules of the defendant’s jurisdiction, other papers, in addition to the summons, may need to be served to the defendant. Documents provided to a defendant must always be factual and correct.

If the case identifies many adults as defendants, all adults must be served. The service of process is not exclusive to human beings, though. Court papers must also be served to corporations, partnerships, counties, cities, and other entities that may be named in a case. Ordinarily, service of process is made onto an agent appointed to represent the party sued. Depending on the nature of the organization being sued and the alleged wrongdoing, various rules may apply to the service of process.  Click Here for information on Why Do Process Servers Exist?

WHO CAN SERVE PROCESS?

Most states do not impose excessive barriers to entry for those seeking to become process servers. Rules may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but generally speaking, a process server must be an independent party. The party being served cannot have any interest in the result of the lawsuit, and the party being served cannot have any interest in the outcome of the case. Not all states have the same criteria for serving legal documents, and some even require process servers to be residents or certified in the state. Serving of process, the number of permitted attempts at service, and proof of service must always comply with applicable state legislation.

Most states need a proof of service, also known as a return of service or, if notarized, an affidavit of service, to be filled out in accordance with local requirements before the service of process may be completed. The evidence of service must be signed by the process server, essentially taking an oath that service was made. The who, what, where, when, and how of the process of serving documents is recorded. Completion of this form makes the process server legally responsible for any problems that may develop as a result of the service of the process.

WHY WOULD A PROCESS SERVER CALL?

It is often believed that process servers do not contact potential targets before attempting to do so would “give them away.” This is a misguided understanding of process service. By providing the individual with this notification, the server is helping the defendant out. 

A process server’s intentions are not malicious. The individual needs to understand the accusations made against them in the lawsuit since they are a party to it. Some individuals do their best to avoid process servers. Still, the reality is that it is far more effective to contact the server to schedule a convenient time to deliver the papers because of this (and possibly save the defendant some embarrassment by agreeing on when and where service will take place).

Some customers welcome service-coordinating calls. Typically, this occurs during a divorce when there are young children in the household and the person being served wishes to avoid the presence of the children at the time of service. Also, some customers may decline home delivery altogether, opting instead to pick up their papers at the service location. Keep in mind that the process server is not likely to phone and insist that the defendant come home immediately. It is also a fraud if they ever phone the defendant demanding payment. Avoid being fooled by this.

Typically, servers will initiate contact to schedule a future meeting. Even though the paper’s due date is imminent, the defendant normally has at least a few days to complete the assignment. Suppose the server calls the individual from just outside their door. In that case, it is not because they’re attempting to intimidate but because they’re either trying to deliver the documents or have already done so. 

If, on the other hand, the individual would prefer the server to make an effort to provide the files at a certain time, they should include at least a couple-hour window for the delivery. It is not only practical but also advantageous to provide the delivery service a two- to four-hour window during which the defendant can be home to accept their delivery.

True process servers will contact you by phone. But not everyone claims to be a process server, and phoning is one. This may be an elaborate hoax. A genuine process server will do its best to deliver the papers. The goal of any fraudster is to either get the individual’s personal information or money so they can disappear. 

Legitimate process servers may attempt to arrange a meeting at the place of employment or residence. The location of a service is not strictly regulated by legislation. As long as the defendant has access to the documents and is aware of the situation, that counts. The server will keep trying to schedule a meeting even if the defendant cannot provide a specific time. This implies that the papers will be delivered to the place of residence or business. An offer from a server to visit the home should not be seen as an actual threat. 

A server will not stop attempting to serve papers if the client is evasive. Instead, the server will ensure service at off hours or will contact the defendant’s place of employment directly, often causing embarrassment.  The main issue, however, is that the individual will not get the paperwork and, thus, will be unaware of the nature of the matter in which the defendant is engaged. The server will likely include a record of refusal to answer the phone or consent to a meeting in the affidavit they submit to the court. This will let the court know that the defendant ignored the server’s efforts to get in touch, causing a default judgment. 

HOW MANY TIMES CAN A PROCESS SERVER VISIT A HOUSE?

Having a reliable process server is crucial in many different scenarios. They submit paperwork in court, get it served and delivered, and gather other related paperwork and objects. Their primary purpose is to deliver court papers to defendants and other parties.

To effectively interact with attorneys and others engaged in legal proceedings, process servers must be fluent in written and spoken communication. As members of the legal community, they must uphold the intellectual and ethical standards set by jurists, attorneys, and legal assistants. Because of this, their written and vocal communications must be properly prepared and presented professionally.

A process server may come to your home or office as many times as necessary to serve you legal papers.  The number of times a process server will attempt to deliver a set of documents is determined by the process server’s policies. The standard procedure is to make three tries, spread out over three days and at three different times of the day. After the process server has exhausted all other options for service, the applicant may petition the court for permission to use another means of service.

Generally speaking, a process server may lawfully deliver papers on any day, including holidays. It is up to the discretion of the individual process server as to whether or not they will try document delivery on holidays or how late in the day they will work.

A process server may theoretically try to serve a defendant or a witness an unlimited number of times. In most cases, a “Return of Service” is included with legal documents like a summons or subpoena issued by a court. The defendant or witness must be served by the date specified on the Return of Service. A process server, in principle, has an unlimited amount of time before the deadline to try service on a defendant or witness.

In certain instances, affixing the subpoena or summons to the door of the defendant’s or witness’s last known place of abode would suffice as service. Typically, this is done by taping the paper to the front door of the house. However, the subject might readily dispute receipt of the paper, possibly by saying that someone took the document and ran away with it, making this kind of service less credible than physical delivery on the defendant or witness.

After delivering legal papers to a recipient, process servers must provide evidence that the papers were successfully delivered. As a safeguard for the person being served, the processor, and the person or organization seeking service, process servers are required to have the affidavit of service notarized. Affidavits of service and notarization requirements, as well as the rules for serving legal papers, differ from one state to the next.

RESTRICTIONS AS TO DATE AND TIME OF SERVICE

Service of process on Sundays and legal holidays is permitted in nearly forty states. This allows the summons or subpoena to be served on the defendant when they are most likely to be at home, such as on a Sunday. Because of this, serving of process is more likely to be successful since the defendant or witness will be located and brought into court. On the other hand, in other states, service on Sunday is illegal, citing religious holidays or a day of worship. These states, however, may accommodate Sunday serving of process under a court order or in exceptional circumstances.

If the individual requires legal documents to be served on a Sunday or holiday, they should always double-check the local rules and regulations to make sure that they are doing it within the bounds of the law.

The rules and regulations governing the case will vary based on the state in which the applicant may choose to file it. A process server may be a member of law enforcement or an independent contractor, depending on state law. Generally speaking, documents may be served by process servers at any hour, on any day. This includes holidays. The professional process server will immediately find the persons named in the case and deliver the papers to them in accordance with state law after they have received the documents to serve. 

The process server may have its guidelines about the suit’s schedule, or it may consult with the individual and the legal firm. The process server will be able to enforce its deadlines more effectively and efficiently for the client. For more information, check out What is a Process Server? or What is Process Service?

OUR PROCESS

Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed ps@undisputedlegal.com, 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.

DOMESTIC COVERAGE AREAS:

Alaska | Alabama | Arkansas | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Maine| Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | North Carolina | North Dakota | Nebraska | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | Nevada | New York | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island| South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE AREAS:

Albania | Andorra | Anguilla | Antigua | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Bahamas | Barbados | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bermuda | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | British Honduras | British Virgin Islands | Bulgaria | Canada | Cayman Islands | Central and Southern Line Islands | Chile|China (Macao) | China People’s Republic | Colombia | Costa Rica | Country of Georgia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Egypt | Estonia | Falkland Islands and Dependences | Fiji | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar | Gilbert and Ellice Islands | Greece | Guernsey | Hong Kong | Hungary | Iceland | India | Ireland | Isle of Man | Israel | Italy | Jamaica | Japan | Jersey Channel Islands | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Korea | Kuwait | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg| Malawi | Malaysia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico| MonacoMontenegro | Montserrat | Morocco | Namibia | Netherlands| New Zealand |Nicaragua | Norway | Pakistan | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Pitcairn |Poland| Portugal | Republic of Moldova | Republic of North Macedonia | Romania |Russian Federation | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | San Marino | Saudi Arabia | Serbia | Seychelles | Singapore| Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sri Lanka | St. Helena and Dependencies | St. Lucia | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Tunisia | Turkey | Turks and Caicos Islands| UkraineUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Uruguay | US Virgin Islands | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam

OFFICE LOCATIONS

New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 300, Washington DC 20004

FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS

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 more information, check out Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers; 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.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives”– Foster, William.

Sources

1. Police officers and sheriffs may serve legal documents in many areas. In order to minimize any potential responsibility or other adverse effects on the outcome of the case as a result of a mistake made when the papers were served, it is recommended that the individual hire a professional process server who is familiar with the applicable local, state, and federal requirements.

2. Some con artists often force the defendant to have a witness present and photo identification before they’ll work their magic. Although certain legal proceedings (such as Guardianships) necessitate the presence of a witness, such instances are rare, and, in general, the defendant knows when a Guardianship is approaching. The defendant should be on guard for possible fraud if they are requested for identification and/or a witness.

3. Service of process is likewise prohibited on holidays in other states like Minnesota.

4. Aside from the prohibition of Sunday service, New York also forbids the serving of process on Saturday for those who hold that day sacred (New York General Business Law 13).

5. The process server is prohibited from serving papers on Sunday in the following states:

  1. Florida (Florida Statutes §48.20)
  2. Maine (Maine Revised Statutes §705)
  3. Massachusetts (General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 136, Sec. 8)
  4. Minnesota (Minnesota Statutes §624.04)
  5. New York (New York General Business Law §11)
  6. Rhode Island (General Laws of Rhode Island §9-5-24)
  7. South Dakota (South Dakota Codified Laws §1-5-2)
  8. Tennessee (Tennessee Code Annotated §20-2-105 and 106)
  9. Texas (Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 6)
  10. Virginia (Code of Virginia §8.01-289)
  11. West Virginia (West Virginia Code §56-3-16)

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