Process Serving: Delivering Court Papers to Other Parties

Why Is Process Serving Important?

Process serving is a process whereby copies of court documents are delivered in a formal way to all parties involved in a case. This process is intended to not only inform all the parties of the existence of the case but also all the actions that have been taken in the case. Without this, no case can move forward.

Can’t I Do This Myself?

Unfortunately, no. No court will allow parties involved to serve documents in their own case. Depending on where you are from, you may have several options for having your papers served. The three most common are:

  1. A registered process server 
  2. An attorney
  3. An individual over the age of 18 who is not a party in your case

Choosing among these three options will depend on your specific situation. To help you decide, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons for each of these:

1. Registered Process Servers

A registered process server is a person who is responsible for delivering legal to all parties involved.

The Pros of Getting a Registered Process Server

  1. Even though their fees vary and depend on the difficulty of the task and the distance they have to travel, their fees are generally reasonable.
  2. You will be given a ‘Proof of Service’ form that has been filled by the server. This form will have to be kept for filing purposes. The great thing about working with a registered process server is that you can trust them to correctly fill out the form for you.
  3. Their service is recognized and is considered to be valid. Even if a party decides to contest their service, they will have to prove that it’s not valid.
  4. Not only do they know the types of documents that have to be served, but they also know how to locate hard-to-find people.
  5. They tend to be more flexible and would be willing to perform the service on odd days and outside of business hours.

The Pros of Getting a Registered Process Server

The biggest con has to be not being able to use an Order on Application for Fee Waiver of Court Fees and Costs from the court to pay your fee.

2. An Attorney

If you are being represented by an attorney, on the other hand, they will typically ensure that all documents are served properly. They will either have a staff member serve the documents, or choose to hire a process server to handle the delivery.

The Pros of Letting the Attorney Choose the Method of Delivery

Letting your attorney choose means you don’t have to worry about anything. With their experience, you can rely on them to determine the best way to serve documents.

The Cons of Letting the Attorney Choose the Method of Delivery

The only con might be the fees. They will generally be a bit steeper than the fees a registered process server will charge you.

3. A Third Party

Depending on what country and state you live, you may leave the delivery of documents to someone who is not a party to the action. The person you trust with this must be an adult. In short, they can handle serving documents if they are not a named party to the case and are above 18 years old. So, family members, spouses and even friends could do this.

The Pros of Leaving Documents Serving to People You Know

  1. Since you know the person and they are someone close to you, you most likely won’t have to pay them. Unless agreed otherwise, there will be no charge for service.
  2. If the other party named to the case is a family member, you can rest assured that these documents will reach the right destination.
  3. They will typically be more flexible and would be more willing to serve documents after working hours or on weekends.

The Cons of Leaving Documents Serving to People You Know

  1. Since the person responsible for serving the documents have no experience in this, you will have to ensure you know the process from start to finish. This includes knowing how to draft a proper Proof of Service Forms for filing purposes.
  2. They will usually not understand nor recognize the documents that they are serving. S, you are leaving important documents in the hands of someone who has no idea how important these documents are.
  3. Unlike process servers who are registered, your family member’s service is more likely to be challenged. Considering they know relatively little about what they are doing, there are chances that their services are not valid.

I Chose to Have Someone I Know Deliver the Documents: Where Can They Serve the Documents?

There are no restrictions when it comes to location. From their home to their place of work, it doesn’t matter where the documents are served as long as they are served.