Service of Process in California | Direct Legal Support, Inc.

Service of Process


There are several rules and regulations that dictate how process servers can render service of process in California. For instance, some process servers must be registered, licensed and bonded to validly serve court documents to individuals throughout the state. Below we have provided some common industry standards that process servers should operate under California Civil Procedure Code Section 415.21.

  1. Registered Process Server

California law requires individuals that serve more than 10 papers a year to be registered as a process server in the county in which they render service of process and to be a state resident one year immediately preceding the filing.

In addition to being licensed, registered servers are required to post a $2,000 bond or cash deposit in California.

Therefore, before you hire a process server, make sure they are properly registered and bonded in California.

  1. Valid Service

A server must meet specific requirements to legally render service of process. For instance, the server must either personally serve the named party with the court summons and complaint (court documents), or use a valid substituted service method, or service by mail, to effectuate service of process.

  1. Confirm Service of Process

After a party is served, the process server must complete the appropriate proof of service affidavit and file it with the required California Superior Court. The proof of service affidavit will detail how service of process was achieved. Note, the proof of service form will vary depending on the cause of action that is asserted.

You should verify that your server properly files the proof of service affidavit.

  1. Service of Process Limitations
    There are certain limitations in which a server must work within to legally render service of process. For instance, in California, process servers are restricted from trespassing on property as a means of serving process. Thus, gated communities and apartment buildings have created a difficulty for servers.  Nevertheless, process servers may be able to gain access into gated communities if they establish the following:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person shall be granted access to a gated community for a reasonable period of time for the purpose of performing lawful service of process or service of a subpoena, upon identifying to the guard the person or persons to be served, and upon displaying a current driver's license or other identification, and one of the following:

  1. A badge or other confirmation that the individual is acting in his or her capacity as a representative of a county sheriff or marshal.
  2. Evidence of current registration as a process server pursuant to Chapter 16 (commencing with Section 22350) of Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code.b. This section shall only apply to a gated community that is staffed at the time service of process is
    attempted by a guard or other security personnel assigned to control access to the community.

Read our tips for more information about the legal restrictions pertaining to serving process in gated apartments and communities.

Direct Legal Support, Inc. can serve any paper or any legal document anywhere in the United States.   If you need assistance, contact us today.  We are here to help you with service of process.  If you found this article informative, please feel free to share with others.