How to Find Someone to Serve Court Papers

By Si Kingston - Updated April 10, 2017

Generally, you can't serve court papers yourself. You must instead employ a neutral third party such as a process server or the county sheriff to serve the papers for you. The process server will attempt to trace the defendant's address if you don't know where he or she lives. Proof of service is required to show that the party was actually served in a timely and legal manner.

Contact a process server to serve the other party. A process server is licensed as an officer of the court, and allowed to serve legal documents issued by the court within a particular state. The process server must be licensed to serve the defendant in the state, or sometimes county, where the defendant is located. The court clerk's office may have a list of licensed process servers. You can also find process servers by contacting your state's association of process servers – see resources section for contact details. Process servers charge a fee for their service; the fee varies per agency. Routines serves cost anywhere between $35 and $100. However, you may incur additional skip tracing fees if you need the person located.

Pay the county sheriff to serve the other party. The county sheriff will serve the other party in person at his workplace or home. You can typically request the sheriff service directly at the sheriff's office or at the court clerk's office. You can give the required documents to the sheriff, or allow the court clerk to take receipt of the sheriff's fee and give the sheriff the required legal documents. Record of his service is then sent back to the court and kept in your case file. There is a fee for this. For example, the Cook County sheriff , located in Chicago, Illinois, charges $60 per service at the time of publication.

Request the court to serve the other party. The court will not physically serve her, but will instead send the party notice of the impending court date via USPS certified mail. When she signs the certified mail receipt, that receipt is returned back to the courthouse and kept on file as proof of service. The fee for this service varies per state.

About the Author

Si Kingston has been an online content contributor since 2004, with work appearing on websites such as MadeMan. She is a professional screenwriter and young-adult novelist and was awarded the Marion-Hood Boesworth Award for Young Fiction in 2008. Kingston holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.

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