United States legal procedure requires that each party in a case should be notified if actions are taken against them in a court of law. Process serving achieves three basic functions: notifies the party that is being sued civilly or charged with a crime, discloses the party who is suing him/her or law enforcement agency is pressing criminal charges, and discloses the time, date and location of his/her court.
In order for you to deliver notification to the other party of a pending legal action, complaint or legal documents, they need to be served. Jurisdictions generally require that a non-party provide the service of process. Process serving is an imperative part of litigation. It is put into place to protect the legal rights of all American citizens.
There are three basic ways that process serving is achieved:
Personal Service - The best and most recognizable way. The document is given directly to the (or a) party named on the summons, complaint, or petition.
Substitute Service -The document can be given to a family member over the age of 14 who resides in the same household is acceptable.
Substituted Service is not permitted in certain types of legal matters such as divorce petitions where the individual must be served personally.
Notice by Publication– If the named party in the documents cannot be found, the court may allow service by publication in a newspaper or by mail, if the judge allows it.