Understand Service of Process
You might be surprised at how few folks, including seasoned attorneys, understand what private service of process is or how it works. Said with all due respect, of course. Take a moment to go over this brief "help tool" of sorts to save yourself (and your clients) some time, money and confusion.
What is it?
Service of Process is simply to deliver documents that were filed in a court of law, to an opposing party. The Process Server cannot be a party in the case or connected to the case in any other way.
Normally, when documents are filed with a clerk of court a request in writing is made (per that court's process) for the sheriff to deliver, "serve", the documents. Otherwise, documents can be served via certified mail.
Request can be made for the court to appoint a special, or private, process server. Most courts require either a standing order for a particular process server or a specific motion to appoint said process server. When that is okayed, by order of the judge/magistrate, documents are prepared as a service packet, which includes a Proof of Service for the server to fill out and sign when service is made (perfected).
So why pay for a private process server?
Certified mail is not usually a good means for service mainly due to the fact that once it's returned undeliverable you must start all over.
Sheriffs are wonderful blessings, needed for many important works. Service of Process simply is not at the top of their list of important. Frankly, they are paid whether the attempt service or not and most often try it only along their usual routes. Your documents may get served...eventually....
But private process service is prioritized to do just that: Locate the subject and attempt service, as many times as it takes to get the job done.
*In addition, you will have a signed Proof of Service. That is a legal document filed with the court, which is equivalent to a sworn statement that we personally handed the document directly to the subject.
Important Points to Consider
Whether you are an attorney or individual, here some very important points to consider when reaching out to hire a private process server that will make this go smoother for you and your client:
- You need to file the motion to appoint server for your case and make sure, once that is approved, to fill out the necessary form to ask the clerk to prepare the service packet.
- Once that packet is ready, let me know. I will go pick it up from the court, get it served and get the signed proof of service to you (both original by regular mail and digital copy by email).
- You must file the proof of service.
- Providing details of the party to be served is always a great help! Things, such as work schedule/when most likely home, etc, really cuts down the time it takes to get a person served. There also may be cases in which your client will need to speak with me directly, and that's just fine with me.