Service of Process Is an Important Part of Your Case. Don’t Blow It
After filing a case with the clerk of court, some people are surprised to find out they are responsible for getting the papers served. The clerk of court has nothing to do with process service and, in some jurisdictions, cannot even tell you where to go for help serving your papers. These people then often turn to the internet for help.
A lot of the information online outlining how to serve papers is actually wrong.
If you’ve been on our site before, you may have noticed how often we caution that the rules of process serving depend on the state. Many of these “how to serve papers” articles do not explain what state’s rules they are using and instead make blanket statements. Following some of the advice they give could result in the service being thrown out if the procedure is not valid in your state.
For example, some sites claim that you can serve your soon-to-be-ex-spouse with divorce papers by mailing the papers to his or her last known address with a return receipt. If you did this in Wisconsin, service would not be valid and you just made the situation that much more difficult.
Process Serving: DIY or Trust a Pro?
After paying potentially hundreds of dollars to file a case, there’s a temptation to cut corners on process serving. It seems fairly easy to do and people sometimes think of asking a friend or relative to serve the papers. This is an odd solution to the problem for a few reasons.
Hiring a professional process server is actually very affordable and the amount of money you may save by having a friend do it is negligible.
Secondly, and slightly more importantly, there are a lot of rules and regulations surrounding the service of process. If you fail to obey them, the judge may rule the serve was invalid. Moreover, unusual situations may arise that a pro will know how to handle based on previous experience. Somebody new to serving might make a mistake that costs you in the long run.
Additionally, if there are problems, you can always count on a professional process server to show up on your behalf in the courtroom to testify as to what transpired. At Southeast Wisconsin Process, we have taken the stand both to defend specific services and as expert witnesses. If the other party challenges service, having a professional on your side could have a huge impact on how your case unfolds.
Different kinds of cases can have different rules of service and you must follow them or risk having your case stall for improper service. Professional process servers know the rules of civil procedure that pertain to your case. They know what to do and they’ve done it hundreds, if not thousands, of times already. Compare that with explaining to a friend what you read online (which may not actually apply to your situation) and the choice is clear.
If you’re still in doubt, ask yourself if you know what needs to happen after the papers are served. Most of the online articles leave off what you have to do after the papers have been served. If they say anything, they mention an affidavit of service but don’t provide much other guidance.
Simply serving the papers is not enough, there are things you need to do afterward or there will be problems.
Do not risk having your case thrown out or delayed because of service issues. There are so many things that can go wrong before, during and after the serve that it is clearly in your best interests to hire a professional to help you.
The Easiest Way to Serve Papers in a Court Case
Once your papers are filed, give us a call. We take the headache out of serving papers, making the process entirely turnkey. Once you have the quote to serve the papers, all you’ll need to do is get the documents to our office with any additional information we may need (e.g. the person’s physical description, schedule, what car they drive, etc.) and we will take care of the rest. Within a few weeks you’ll get everything you need so your case can continue. Working with a professional process serving company is the surest path to advancing your case.
If you do decide to try serving it yourself, remember, online articles gloss over many important details and much of what they say probably does not apply to the state where you live. You’d be better served reading your state’s statutes and drawing your own conclusions. Even then, proceed at your own risk.