Substitute Service of Process in California


How to achieve Substituted Service of Process in California.. Well at the beginning of a lawsuit, a plaintiff is required to personally serve and deliver the summons and complaint of his/her cause of action to each named defendant.  California Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) section 415.10.  This personal service of court documents must be made upon the defendant in order to properly summon him/her to court. However, there are certain situations in which traditional service methods will not work.  For instance, the defendant may be avoiding service of process altogether.  If this is the case, you may be able to utilize substituted service of process.

Substituted Service of Process

Substituted service of process usually occurs when there has been multiple attempts made to serve a defendant.   Under substituted service, if the process server is unable to serve the defendant, they can leave the summons and complaint with someone at the defendant’s house, or work.  Anyone who takes the documents for the defendant must be 18 years or older.

If the process server leaves the summons and complaint in this alternate manner, the server must mail a copy of the summons and complaint by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the defendant at the location where the documents were left.

Service of a summons in this manner is deemed complete on the 10th day after the mailing. This is different than actual personal service, which is effective the day the summons and complaint are delivered.

In addition, the process server must file a declaration with the court, explaining in detail the server’s “diligent attempts” to personally serve the defendant. The court requires at least three attempts on different days, at different times of day, and at all known addresses for the party. These attempts must occur during hours at which the party would likely be available.

For example, service at a business address must be tried during hours that a party would normally be found at work. The process server must also set forth how likely it is that the defendant is aware of these attempts.

Direct Legal Support, Inc. is here to assist you with serving court documents to your opposing party.  Direct Legal Support, Inc. can serve any paper or any legal document anywhere in the United States.   If you need assistance, contact us today at 800-675-5376.  We are here to help you with service of process.  If you found this article informative, please feel free to share with others.