The Basics of Process Service

gavel on top of a legal form

Are you suing somebody for personal injury or taking your ex to court for custody? If you’re in New York, you can work with process servers in Brooklyn. If this sounds alien to you, then you’re on the right page.

Learn about this profession and why you need one right now:

What Is Process Service?

Process service or service of process is a legal procedure in the United States. It is when specially qualified individuals deliver legal documents such as summons or formal complaints to the person written on these papers.

Usually, these are defendants, but they can also be other parties involved in the case. These include witnesses and even the victims. This is a vital part of the justice system since it helps uphold one of the fundamental constitutional rights of every human being: due process of the law. No one should be deprived of liberty or rights without it.

It means the court will give every involved person a chance to talk, explain, and defend their case. For this reason, it needs proof that the other parties are aware they have been served. You need to deliver this proof to the court over a specific period. Otherwise, you have to redo the process.

Who Can Perform a Process Service?

People who perform a process of service are known as process servers. A long time ago, this role fell on law enforcement, such as the sheriffs and other agents.

The population grew, though, and the number of cases went up. They needed help, and so the basic requirements loosened. Today, a person can become a process server if:

  • They’re at least 18 years old and above
  • They are not involved in the case (a neutral party)
  • They live in the state where they operate

Different states can have additional requirements for process servers. For example, in New York, they need to have a license. They even need to provide a surety bond worth $10,000.

It is their job to deliver and strive to ensure that the named parties can receive the documents. Usually, they do so in people’s homes or their workplaces. They can also deliver them by mail.

In some cases, they do a substitution service. Another person, perhaps a relative or a colleague, receives these papers on behalf of the named parties. Some states, such as New York, allow this.

What Happens If the Other Party Refuses the Serve?

person signing a legal document

Refusal of service can happen if the named party avoids process servers or receives the documents but didn’t sign any proof of service. Contrary to popular belief, this is not illegal for anyone to do.

Process servers can also have limitations on their number of attempts. Usually, they can try to serve the other party three times. If you’re the aggrieved party, you can ask the court to do a service by publication. It means the other person’s name will now appear in the legal section of newspapers.

The court can also continue with its judgment, and the defendant might no longer receive any notice of legal action against them. That is a loss for them.

The legal process can be time-consuming, complex, and challenging. You need all the partners you need to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. When necessary, include process servers as your allies.

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