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About Process Serving

The following page was developed to answer some of the most common questions about process servers. If you still have questions about process serving, please visit our FAQs page or contact us at (877) 737-8366.


What is Service of Process?

According to legal procedure in the United States, all parties must be notified when facing legal action against them in a court of law or an administrative court. The notification, which is called service of process, is accomplished through the delivery of a set or series of documents describing the legal action. Examples of documents that comprise service of process includes summonses, complaints, subpoenas, writs, and other court documents. These documents are delivered to the individual whom the legal action is directed. Service of Process must be served by an individual who is not a party to the case.

What does a Process Server do?

A legal process server delivers (or serves) legal documents to a defendant or an individual involved in a court case. The process server must serve the documents in accordance with the legislation in the area of service. This may mean handing the documents to the defendant personally or performing substituted service to someone in the same household or business. Once the documents are delivered, the process serving agent must provide proof that the papers were served. This is done through a document call an Affidavit of Service, also called a Proof of Service, which must be notarized and given to the party who requested service.

Process servers will also file your papers with the courts, can do document retrieval and may offer various types of investigations: skip trace, people locates, surveillance, etc.

Do I need a Process Server?

Hiring a Legal Process Server is an important step in proceeding with a court case. In some states, someone who performs service of process is required by law to be licensed, so if you are in one of these states, the answer is "Yes!"

Process Servers vs. Sheriffs Infographic

Even if a process server does not need to be licensed in the state where you need service, you should keep in mind that a process server is someone who is experienced in serving legal documents efficiently. More importantly, professional process servers are knowledgeable of the legislation surrounding service of process in their state or county. There are several requirements and constraints associated with serving legal documents that vary from state to state, or county to county. If the service is not performed in accordance with the law, this can hinder your case from going forward or result in the dismissal of your case.

How much does it cost to get papers served?

Process serving rates can vary from case to case and state to state. Same day or rush serves are typically billed at a higher rate. The cost of a routine serve (a serve that is first attempted within 5-7 days of receiving the papers) can be as low as $20 and can go up to $100, but the national average is somewhere between $45 and $75. At ServeNow.com, we recommend you contact multiple process servers that cover a particular area. You will want to ask them about cost, TAT (turn-around-time) and number of attempts.

Why use ServeNow.com?

ServeNow.com is a directory of local, pre-screened process servers. Using local companies will decrease cost and increase efficiency. All process servers listed on ServeNow.com must meet listing requirements and have at least one year of experience before being listed on our directory. ServeNow.com users also have access to ServeManager - a secure application that provides updated status of all your serves, no matter who is serving them or where they are being served. Additionally, if you ever feel like you aren't receiving adequate service from a company listed on our directory, please contact us and we will do our best to help you resolve your issues.

ServeNow.com aims to be the only resource you need for locating and using process servers anywhere. If you can't find the help you need on ServeNow.com, call us toll free at (877) 737-8366, and we will help you find a process server at no charge.