What does process serving or service of process mean? Service of process or process serving is a key part of what is known as the Due Process of Law. If any actions are taken against someone in a court of law, he or she must be notified of the fact under US law. Process service is the way that he or she is notified. A professional known as a process server will find this person and hand deliver court documents to them so that they are fully informed. Depending on the court case one is involved in, a process server may deliver subpoenas, summons, complaints, order to show cause, or other writs.
Each state has its own process serving laws and rules that govern civil procedure. Process servers must follow these laws and rules in order to legally deliver court documents. In most cases, a process server must deliver documents to someone by hand. In cases where this is not possible, “substituted service” may be another option. In this legal process of service, court documents are left with management personnel, at someone’s place of business, or are left with an adult resident of someone’s home. If service can’t be perfected, some states allow the service document to be published in a newspaper or other publication. In these instances, the process server also needs to send a copy of the documents via certified mail.
Who can deliver court documents as a process server? When process service first became a part of the legal process, agents of the court, sheriffs, and deputies were responsible for delivering court documents. Since these professionals had other duties and obligations besides process service, the service of process procedure became something of a burden. Legislation was written to allow more people to deliver court documents. In many states today, such as Virginia, any US citizen 18 or older, who is not a party to the particular case can serve court papers.
It is important to remember that each state has different laws governing service of process.
What does a process server do? A process server must serve or deliver court documents to the individual listed on the documents being delivered. In order to do so, process servers may have to make multiple attempts or travel from a person’s home to their place of work. A process server must also be careful not to break any regulations or laws governing service of process. Once the court documents have been delivered, the process server must provide a Proof or Service (also known as an Affidavit of Service or Return of Service) and in some cases, have the Proof of Service notarized. This proof or affidavit must then be given to the person or organization that requested the court documents be delivered.
How much will it cost to get my papers served? A routine service can cost anywhere from $35 to $100 or more. Many variables can affect the price, including which state the documents are being served. You may incur larger fees if it is difficult to locate the person to be served. If the person needs to be found in order to serve documents, the extra fees and expenses will be passed onto you. If you have special process service needs – for example, if you need rush service – you should expect to pay more. NRVP can provide a quote for a particular service and the turn-around time is so you know how quickly documents will be served or attempted to be served, and returned to you.
How can I get documents to NRV Processing? First, find out if original documents must be served. If original documents must be served, you will need to send the documents by mail or courier. If not, you will be able to email or fax the documents to us. You will want to find out whether original documents need to be served or not so that you do not end up paying for shipping costs.
Where and when can a process server serve my documents the person or entity to be served? Each state has its own unique laws about how documents can be delivered and when and where a process server can approach the person to be served. In some states, a process server can approach anyone, at anytime, in any place to serve documents. In other states, stricter rules for process serving apply. For example, in Virginia and Florida you cannot serve someone who is traveling to or from a court, and you cannot serve someone in their home on a Sunday. Some states do not allow anyone to be served on holidays.
Since laws vary from state to state and can be complex, it is important to hire a professional, process serving company. NRVP understands the laws and can make sure your documents are served legally.
How long will it take to have my papers served? NRVP offers several levels of service. For example, we offer same day service or rush service, You can expect to pay more for these speedy services. Almost all process servers offer routine service, which means that an initial attempt to serve your documents will be made within 5 to 7 days after you have hired the process server.
What if the person who needs to be served does not want to be served or is hard to find? If someone can not be found, some courts will allow service via newspaper, meaning a publication of the service in a local newspaper will be considered sufficient service. However, in order for a court to approve such a measure, you may have to prove in court that you have made reasonable attempts to find the person who must be served. Working with NRVP is one way to establish this.
In some states, “substitute service” is possible, in which someone close to the defendant or target is served instead (a family member residing at the same residence). Optimally, it is best to obtain personal or individual service. Some state do not allow substitute service for particular cases In some instances approval for alternative service measures may be granted by a court order. This procedure is only used when all other options have been exhausted and must be shown as part of the Due Diligence process. Since laws vary by state, it is important to hire professional process server, such as NRVP
What if the person being served refuses to accept the papers? Different states have different laws concerning acceptance of papers, but in most cases the person to be served does not have to formally accept the papers. In many states, if the person admits his or her identity but refuses the papers, the process server can leave the papers at the person’s feet and walk away. In other states, after verifying the usual place of abode of the person, process servers can "Post" the documents in a conspicuous location (such as on the front door of the dwelling). The service will still be considered effective. In other states, the target must admit their name or identity and actually touch or be touched with the documents. Working with NRVP is the best way to ensure that your documents are delivered in the correct manner.
Will my papers be filed with the court by the process server? Generally, papers are returned to the Requester. NRVP offers document filing services as well as other support services that will help you in your legal case.
Do I really need to hire a process server? If your documents will be delivered in a state that requires all process servers to be licensed, you must hire a process server in order to have a successful service. Even if a state does not require licensed process servers, there are many reasons why you should hire a process server to deliver your court documents. NRVP can deliver your documents in compliance with state and local process serving laws. If you entrust service to someone who inadvertently breaks a law during process service, your case could be dismissed or delayed. Incorrect process service can also mean higher legal costs and injunctions caused by delays in obtaining evidence for your case.
A professional process server ensures that the documents are delivered correctly and appropriately. Process service does not cost a great deal but can save you a great deal of legal hassle. A process server is a good investment to make if you are serious about your case.
Does the process server I hire need to be licensed? Alaska, Arizona, California, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Texas all require process servers to be licensed. In addition, some states or localities require process servers to be registered in their state or county. If you require service of process in these areas, NRVP, through its nationwide resources, ensures that each of its process servers are licensed or registered correctly.
What is an Affidavit of Service (or a Proof of Service)? An Affidavit of Service, Return of Service, and a Proof of Service are the same thing – a signed document that a process server gives you once your documents have been effectively served. An Affidavit of Service shows you who was served and when and where the service took place. An Affidavit of Service is an important piece of evidence to prove to the court that your documents have been correctly served. If an Affidavit of Service cannot be provided, you may need an Affidavit of Due Diligence from your process server. This document will assert that the person to be served cannot be found, even though attempts have been made to locate and deliver the documents the person.
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