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Home Courts By District 17th Judicial District Service of Process Video Script
Home Courts By District 17th Judicial District Service of Process Video Script
Service of Process Video Script


It is important for you to notify the other party in your case of the actions you are taking against them in court. To take legal action against someone and not inform them is fundamentally unfair. If you file for divorce or file a lawsuit against someone, you must notify them of what you have done in order for them to be able to respond and in order for your case to move forward in the court.
The act of notifying the other parties that an action has begun and informing them of the steps they should take in order to respond is called a service of process, and there are certain rules you need to follow in order to have someone served correctly. Before we get into the specifics of service of process, let’s stop for a moment and look at what this term means. Process, legally, means the summons and petition in a domestic case, or summons and complaint in a civil case.
When you make sure that the other party has properly received a copy of the summons and petition or summons and complaint, you have had a service of process performed. Remember, you cannot serve the summons until you have filed it, and it has been issued by the deputy clerk.
The first thing you must do is make a copy of the summons and the petition or complaint.
Next, you must find a process server, which is simply someone who will take the documents to the other party. You can have service of process performed for a fee, if you contact the Sheriff’s Department. Make sure to contact the Sheriff’s department for the county in which service will be performed. If you think the other party might be dangerous, it is recommended that you have service performed by law enforcement.
You can also hire a private process server, or have service performed by someone you know, as long as they are not part of the case and over eighteen years of age. Make sure this is someone who is unbiased and does not have an interest in the outcome of the case.
Third, in serving the other party with the papers your process server has several options. The other party is to be served personally, not through their attorney. The process server can deliver the documents to the other party at their home or at work. If the other party is not present at either of these places, then the process server may leave the forms at the party’s house with a family member of the party, as long as that family member is over 18, or at work, with the party’s secretary, manager, or bookkeeper.
Lastly, after service is performed by your chosen process server, you need to make sure that they fill out a form called a Return of Service or Affidavit of Service. This form must be signed in front of a notary unless the process server is a peace officer. The Affidavit must clearly state who performed the service, so that if necessary, they can come to court and provide explanation in case there are any questions.
The Return of Service is the proof that you will need in order to show the judge or magistrate that you have served the required documents. Be sure that the documents served are listed by document name on your Affidavit of Service. For, instance the summons and complaint or summons and petition for a new case, or if you are serving contempt papers, the verified motion, citation and order.
Your action, what it is you’re trying to do in court, starts at the time the papers are served. Service of process is what you need to do for your case to begin. Though it may seem easier not to perform a service of process, it is necessary for you to make sure that the other party is served. Failure to properly notify the other party, or dishonesty about whether or not they were actually served, will hurt your standing and credibility with the court, and in could result in your case being dismissed. Service of process has several technical rules that must be followed, but the information you need to follow these rules is available to you, and by performing this responsibility you will keep your case moving through the court.
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