Rendering effective service of process may be challenging for inexperienced servers. Here at Direct Legal Support, Inc., we have provided such services for over the past 50 years. Read on to learn more about top 4 service of process tips.
Tip # 1 - Learn How to Properly Serve a Party
In order to be successful at rendering service of process, you must know how to locate a named defendant and follow the appropriate legal steps in notifying him/her that a case is pending against him/her.
Such a task may sound easy, but effectuating service of process successfully comes with challenges from time-to-time. There are three main ways service of process can be effectuated upon a defendant:
1. Personal Service
Personal service of process occurs when a copy of the summons and complaint are delivered personally upon the defendant. The person rendering service must be at least 18-years-old and not a party to the lawsuit. Further, California Business and Professions Code require persons who serve more than 10 papers a year to be registered in the county in which they operate. You should validate your process server’s credentials to make sure they are in compliance with local laws before hiring him or her to render service of process.
2. First Class & Certified Mail
In California, for service of process by first class mail, someone over the age of 18 that is not a party to the case must mail the documents to the other party along with 2 copies of an Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt Form. The other party then signs 1 copy of the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt (in order to notify the court that he or she received the papers in the mail) and returns it to the server. The server then fills out a Proof of Service, detailing to whom the papers were mailed, to what address, when, how (by first-class mail), and where they were mailed from. The server signs the Proof of Service and returns it so that it can be filed at the courthouse.
For small claims lawsuits, a small claims court clerk can serve a defendant through certified mail. A person over the age of 18 will be required to sign the court documents. Service by certified mail is also used when a party that needs to be served lives out-of-state. The person who mails the papers must be at least 18-years-old and not a party to the case. The server must complete a Proof of Service indicating how the papers were served. Service by certified mail is complete on the 10th day after mailing of the papers.
3. Substituted Service
There are certain situations in which the defendant can be served by substituted service of process. When this occurs, a server (who must be at least 18-years-old or older) will deliver the summons and complaint to someone over the age of 18 to the defendant’s residence, place of business, or usual meeting place of mailing.
If you have problems rendering service, I recommend you contact us. Our registered process servers can locate and serve any party to a lawsuit.
Tip # 2 - Get Help When Service of Process is Unsuccessful
There may be times in which you will not be able to find a party to effectuate service. When this occurs, you should consult the advice of a professional. Direct Legal Support, Inc. has routinely used skip trace techniques to find defendants for service related purposes.
Most registered process servers have extensive experience locating people that intentionally avoid service. We know how to utilize several means such as drop service and/or substituted service to make sure the defendant receives the proper notice of the lawsuit pending against him/her.
Tip # 3 - Learn How to Find a Qualified Registered Process Server
Here at Direct Legal Support, Inc., we recommend you use qualified registered process servers to help you serve defendants. Registered process servers know the laws and regulations regarding how service of process is suppose to be rendered in the state of California.
Further, state law requires certain process servers to become registered in order to hold themselves out as professional process servers. You do not want to hire someone that cannot get the job done for you which can jeopardize your lawsuit.
Tip # 4 - Know When to Use a Sheriff vs. Registered Process Server
We are routinely asked whether or not a person should use a registered process server or local sheriff to render service of process. Though you may be able to have the local sheriff assist you, studies show that registered process servers render service of process more effectively. This is in large part due to the fact that sheriffs generally make minimal attempts to render service, unlike private registered process servers. When in doubt, we recommend you use the services of a registered process service agency such as Direct Legal Support, Inc..
We hope the tips above help. Contact Direct Legal Support, Inc. for your process serving needs. We can serve any legal document anywhere in the United States. If you need assistance, contact us today. If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share with others.