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Types of Papers a Process Server Serves and What is the Process?

What is Process Serving? 

Service of process involves the delivering of vital paperwork to the defendant involved in the court case. In most situations, a court case cannot take place without service of process. It is a legal requirement for the person who delivers these papers to not be any of the court parties involved in the case. Therefore, a process server is an imperative part of the overall litigation process. Let's take a look at what types of paper does a process server serve. 

Benefits of Hiring a Process Server 

  • A professional process server is an impartial person who will not provide bias to any parties involved in the court case. 
  • They are educated on all laws that need to be upheld, from start to finish, in order to effectively serve you. 
  • They will notify the defending party involved in the case that they are being asked to appear in court and the reason they are being asked. 
  • They provide the defendant with the date, time and location pertaining to their case. 
  • They use technology to effectively do their job and to keep you informed every step of the way.
  • They go above and beyond to ensure that your papers are served to the defendant in a timely manner. 

Need more help deciding on the best type of process serving company? Check out this article!

What is the Process for a Process Server? 

When an event occurs that results in someone taking legal action against someone else, it is required that the defendant be notified promptly about the upcoming court date, time, location and the reason that legal action is being taken against them. 

The person notifying the defendant of this pertinent information is required by law to meet certain requirements. In the state of Texas, for example, a process server is required to be certified by the Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC). Under this commission, there is a specific Code of Ethics that the process servers must uphold. In fact, if a process server fails to uphold these ethics, they risk facing disciplinary action by the Judicial Branch Certification Commission. 

When a process server is hired, they take prompt action in locating the defendant in order to serve them the required paperwork. Understandably, the defendant involved in the case is generally not thrilled to be getting served. It is because of this reason that the defendant is often rather difficult to locate. 

How Quickly Should You Serve the Defendant

In order to actually locate the defendant, there are different options as to the time frame in which they are to be located. The urgency for service can be determined by various factors such as:

  • Hearing Date
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Defendant Relocating (Vacation or Permanent Move)
  • For Your or Your Client’s Satisfaction / Peace of Mind that the Defendant Has Been Served

When you hire a process server from Encore Legal Process, you are provided with multiple options, for your convenience, as to the timeline of delivering your papers: 

  1. ROUTINE SERVICE - attempts are made at least every 72 hours of receipt of order (Sunday not included). 
  2. 48-HOUR RUSH SERVICE - attempts are made at least every 48 hours of receipt of order (Sunday not included). 
  3. SAME DAY RUSH SERVICE - attempts are made the same day of receipt of order (order must be received by 2 PM CST). 
  4. PRIORITY RUSH SERVICE - attempts are made within 3-4 hours of receipt of order (order must be received by 3 PM CST). 
  5. IMMEDIATE RUSH SERVICE - drop everything and attempt service ASAP (order must be received by 4 PM CST; only available as staffing allows - however, we always do our best to support all requests). 

Get your papers served today by contacting Encore Legal Process HERE: Contact Us - Encore Legal Process 

How to Locate the Defendant 

As far as how to locate the defendant to serve them with the paperwork, there are generally three different steps involved: 

  1. Personal Service - this is when the documents are handed directly to the defendant(s) involved in the case. This method is generally the most popular as it is the most recognizable way to notify the needed person(s).
  2. Substitute Service - In Texas, substitute service can be requested by the court, once diligent efforts have been made but failed to serve the defendant. The plaintiff can submit a Motion and Order, requesting substitute service from the judge. If approved, the judge may allow service by the following means: by serving a resident over 16 years of age, posting to the door, certified mail, social media and/or text message.
  3. Notice by Publication - this is when the judge allows additional methods of delivery of the documents involved in the case. After aforementioned methods have been unsuccessful, the judge may allow for the service to be done via a publication in the newspaper or by mail / email. 

Upholding the Code of Ethics 

While locating the defendant, the process server is required to uphold all the rules listed in the Code of Ethics. Some of these rules include: 

  • PROFESSIONALISM - the process server must treat the defendant with respect when serving them with papers, regardless of how difficult they may be to track down. 
  • HONESTY - the process server must tell the truth about all matters pertaining to the serving of papers. They must not falsely represent themselves by stating that they have a title or degree in which they do not actually obtain. 
  • OBEDIENCE - In Texas, process servers must have a background check before they are certified with the state. The process server must not commit an unlawful/fraudulent act while fulfilling their duties. 

Skip Tracing 

In the event that the process server is given a “bad address” for the defendant, the use of proven “skip tracing” software is implemented. This software conducts things such as searching: license plate numbers, criminal cases, postal searches and CAD records in order to successfully locate the defendant to serve the proper documents. 

What Types of Papers are Served 

In some instances, a process server will need to deliver a complaint (also referred to as a petition). Generally, a complaint is a legal document that aims to settle specific legal matters, which is issued by the accuser to the accused. The complaint specifies how the accuser’s legal rights have been violated, as well as demanding that they are somehow restored. 

The court will issue a summons, also referred to as a citation, which signifies the beginning of a legal case. The process server will then attempt to deliver the documents to the defendant at the given address or, if needed, run a skip trace to locate the defendant, before attempting service. This summons will include all the information that the defendant needs to know regarding their court date. 

Additionally, process servers can also serve papers in the form of a subpoena. Similar to a summons, a subpoena is also considered a demand from the court. However, a summons signifies the beginning of a legal case, while a subpoena is issued after the legal case has already begun. The person who receives the subpoena is required to provide some form of evidence pertinent to the proceeding case. Furthermore, a person who receives a summons is directly involved in the legal case, whereas a person who receives a subpoena does not necessarily have to be directly involved. 

The 3 types of subpoenas include: 

  • Witness Subpoena 
  • Subpoena Duces Tecum 
  • Deposition Subpoena 

The witness subpoena demands that the recipient must appear in court during a legal trial to serve as a witness. 

The subpoena duces tecum (meaning “subpoena for production of evidence”) also requires that the recipient must appear in court. Additionally, the recipient is asked to provide evidence, usually in the form of records or documents, that will support the legal case. 

The deposition subpoena is similar to the subpoena duces tecum, in that it asks the recipient to provide evidence that will support the legal case. However, this step takes place during the “discovery process” held prior to the trial and is not to be used during an actual court hearing. 

Additional Documents Delivered by a Process Server 

In addition to the aforementioned legal documents, process servers will sometimes deliver these types of documents as well:

  1. Petition to Modify Parent-Child Relationship - more recently referred to as the “child arrangements order”, this is given to the primary caretaker of a child, which requires them to allow their child to have contact (either indirect or direct) with the other named person. 
  2. Divorce Petition - this is issued in the event that someone is filing for divorce from another person. Given the heightened state of emotions involved in these cases, process servers are especially vital in delivering these notices to the other person in order to make them aware of the divorce. 
  3. Notice to Vacate - this is given to the tenant of a property in the event that they are being evicted (asked to vacate the premises) due to them violating the terms of their lease in some way. 
  4. Freezing Order - this is also referred to as an injunction. The process server will deliver this order to a person/company to notify them that they are not allowed to sell or touch an asset / assets. 
  5. Temporary Restraining Order - this is given to a parent/guardian to set out specific guidelines for the defendant to follow or face repercussions from the court. 
  6. Civil Debt Petition - in order for this legal document to be served to someone, there must first be evidence to prove that the recipient accepted the legal papers that they were served. This is following the event that they did not meet certain deadlines to pay a creditor or if they did not pay that creditor at all.

Other Services Offered by Process Servers 

In addition to delivering the necessary papers to the defendant involved in your case, process servers also offer some other services. 

One example includes the e-filing of the Proof of Service, also referred to as the Return of Service or an Affidavit of Service (in the event that the document was notarized), with the court, which is the proper documentation needed to prove that your court documents were successfully given to the defendant. The process server will deliver this Proof of Service to the party who requested the service. 

Encore Legal Process goes the extra mile by immediately e-filing the Proof of Service with the court once the documents have been served, which is included in the price. 

Get your papers served TODAY by contacting Encore Legal Process.

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