When someone files for a divorce, their spouse will have to be served the divorce papers. Speaking of which, there are many cases where process servers are hired to serve divorce complaints as well as other forms of divorce pleadings. However, process servers are required to obey the law while serving legal documents. Let’s see what can a process server do or not do
Process servers can never break the law while doing their job, including breaking and entering and trespassing. Therefore, process servers have learned over time how to be creative without ever crossing the line or doing something they aren’t supposed to. In this post, we’re about to draw an easy line for you to distinguish between all things a process server can and cannot do.
What Are Process Servers?
A service of process can be done by anyone who is above 18 years old and not directly involved in a particular lawsuit. This person may be a friend of the plaintiff, a sheriff’s officer in the county, or even a professional process server.
Some states like California require process servers to be registered. However, law enforcement officers that work as process servers aren’t required to do so. Attorneys, their team, or anyone who gets appointed by the court to serve legal documents are also not required to register as a certified process server.
In contrast, the law requires professional private investigators and their teams to register as process servers. However, professional photocopiers and anyone who responds to the requests of producing subpoenas aren’t required by law to be registered.
Process servers aren’t necessarily required to complete specific courses or have the education to be able to serve legal documents correctly. However, they are responsible for understanding and knowing all the laws that are related to serving these documents in their state. In addition, process servers will also be required to post $2000 cash deposits or bonds.
Besides our definition of process servers, let’s quickly go over what process servers can and cannot do.
What Can They Do or Not Do?
The main job of a process server is to deliver various legal documents to individuals or businesses named by their employers. The purpose of these services is to notify these people about the legal action being filed against them or the relevant documents that have been filed in that particular case.
Some legal documents are required to be served in a particular manner. For instance, some legal documents need the process server to be present while serving the individual or business. These personal services are required because the process server needs to identify the person before handing over the document.
They Cannot Break Into the Recipients’ House
The majority of process servers offer their personal services by attempting to send legal documents to the recipients’ homes. In some cases, process servers will not be trespassing unless they open a locked gate or enter a building that is off-limits without asking for permission first.
If the process server is having trouble gaining access to the building or property, they should either return at a later time or wait outside for the recipient to leave. Many people avoid getting served at their office or home, and therefore, process servers have no choice but to serve them in a public place.
They Cannot Harass or Threaten to Serve Papers
A process server, like any other citizen, cannot force a recipient to open their door. Likewise, they cannot coerce or threaten someone to allow them entry and to accept the legal document they were summoned to deliver.
They Cannot Pretend to Be Law Enforcement Officer
A process server can most definitely not pretend to be a law enforcement officer or a court official, for that matter, to get someone to open the door and accept the legal document. If the recipient does open the door, it is illegal for process servers to claim to be either of the two to compel the recipient to open their door.
They Cannot Hand Legal Papers to Minors
It may seem tempting for process servers to leave legal papers with any person that may answer the door, especially if the recipient is trying to avoid getting served. However, process servers are not allowed to leave legal papers to anyone who is under 18 years of age. If the recipient is evasive, the process server is allowed to leave the legal documents with other adults who answer the door.
They Can Stakeout People
We’ve already mentioned how process servers cannot stalk or harass a person that they are serving legal documents. However, the law does not prevent them from waiting outside their abode or their workplace. The process server can also stakeout in front of their known friends’ or family members’ houses if they have reason to believe that they will be visiting there.
What Will Happen If the Legal Documents Cannot Be Served?
If the process server is finding it impossible to serve the recipient, your attorney can ask the court to file a motion that would serve the recipient in another manner. If this fails, the court may also grant permission to serve a public notice. The most experienced attorneys know exactly how to proceed if the spouse or some other party avoids getting served legal documents.
Process servers often play an important role in the legal process, but there have been some misconceptions about the role lately, not least in part thanks to extravagant Hollywood flicks. We hope that we have cleared all of your doubts and that you found exactly what you came looking for. Now, the only thing left for you to do is search for the best process servers.
Choose Elite Legal Services
It is a process server’s job to combine creativity, organization, and not giving up. Elite Legal Services has been providing professional support services for attorneys in New York for over 18 years and therefore, we know exactly how to get things done.