Hiring a Process Server A process server is responsible for delivering court summons and other official
paperwork to someone who is party to a court proceeding. Although this process
sounds simple, it can be much more complicated than it appears. Process service
is a means of guaranteeing the Constitutional right to due process of law, and
as such, is governed by specific laws and procedures. In addition, the intended
recipient of the paperwork may not be willing to easily accept process. Therefore,
it is very important that the process server be familiar with the laws and procedures
of properly serving process. If you need to obtain a process server, here is what
you should know.
Do I Have to Retain a Professional Process Server?
depends on where you live. In some jurisdictions, process servers must be licensed
and/or bonded. In these locations, professional process service may be the only
practical choice. In other jurisdictions, process may be served by any adult over
the age of 18 who is not a party to the case. Additional restrictions, such as
a lack of felony convictions, may also apply.
Even if you are not required
to use a professional process server, however, it may still be the best choice.
Process servers are familiar with the laws and procedures that govern the service
of process. They are also equipped to handle reluctant recipients legally and
How Do I Find a Professional Process Server?
may keep a list of process servers with whom he or she is familiar. Using your
attorney's recommendation can save you time and perhaps money, and provide a feeling
of trust. However, this is not always the best choice. With a bit of research,
you may be able to find your own process server, whose fees may be lower and whose
schedule may be less busy. Use your own discretion, perhaps comparing those on
your attorney's list to those that you find on your own.
How Do I Know
if the Process Server is Qualified?
As with any other profession, some
process servers are better than others. Conduct a short interview with any process
server that you are considering. Ask for references, find out how long he or she
has been in business, and ask about affiliations with professional associations.
Of course, if your jurisdiction requires licensing and/or bonding, it is important
to make sure that the process server's paperwork is in order.
the Process Server Actually Do?
Depending on the situation, the process
server may need to track down the person on whom process will be served. This
may be accomplished in a variety of ways, from talking to friends and relatives
to performing internet research. He or she must then physically serve the papers.
This may be as simple as knocking on the recipient's door or as complicated as
finding a way to catch the recipient off guard.
The Bottom Line
many jurisdictions, process may be served by any legal adult who is not a party
to the case. If you are reasonably confident that the service will go smoothly,
this may be your best option. If the service proves difficult, however, you may
be thankful for the skills and knowledge of a professional process server. Be
sure to interview a prospective process server before committing, and then relax
in the assurance that this very important legal step is being handled professionally.