You must make sure the defendant finds
about the lawsuit. This has to be done
to the rules or your case may be dismissed
or delayed. The correct way of telling
defendant about the lawsuit is called
service of process. This means giving the defendant a copy
of the claim. YOU CANNOT DO THIS YOURSELF.
Here are four ways to serve the defendant.
Service by a law officer
You may ask the Sheriff's Office in the county
where the defendant will be served.
A fee will be charged.
You may ask anyone who IS NOT a party in
your case and who is at least 18
to serve the defendant.
The person is called a process server and
must personally give a copy of your
to the defendant.
The person must also sign a proof of service
form showing when the defendant was
Registered process servers will do this for
you for a fee. You may also ask a
or relative to do it.
You may ask the clerk of the court to serve
the defendant by certified mail.
will charge a fee.
You should check back with the clerk before
the court hearing to see if the receipt
certified mail was returned to the
Service by certified mail must be done by
the clerk's office. You cannot serve
defendant this way yourself.
This method lets you serve another person
in place of the defendant. you must
the procedures carefully. You may
to use the Sheriff's Office or a
A copy of your claim must be left:
With the defendant's authorized agent; or
At the defendant's business with the person
in charge; or
At the defendant's home with a competent
person who is at least 18 years
The person who receives the claim must be
told about its contents; and
Another copy must be mailed, first class,
postage prepaid, to the defendant
address where the claim was left.
is not complete until 10 days after
No matter which method of service you
the defendant must be served by a certain
date or the trial will be postponed.
defendant lives in the county, service
be completed at least 10 days before
trial date. This period is 15 days
defendant lives outside the county.
The person who serves the defendant
sign a court paper showing when the
was served. This paper is called Proof
Service. It must be signed and returned
the clerk's office as soon as the defendant
has been served.