This is where you will find the most frequently asked questions that everyday clients have.  We hope to answer most of your questions here and we will also add to this page on a regular basis.

According to United States legal procedure, all parties must be notified if they are facing legal action against them in a court of law. Notification (called service of process) is accomplished through delivery of documents describing the legal action, and those documents include subpoenas, complaints, summonses, writs, and order to show cause.

A process server is responsible for delivering legal documents to the parties involved in court proceedings. Some states require process servers to be licensed or registered, and all process servers must adhere to all state regulations governing legal service of process.

Process servers typically locate the individual named on the document, travel to that person to deliver the documents, verify the person’s identity before handing over the papers, and then provide their client with a signed proof of service. This proof of service – also called the affidavit of service – details the time, date and location of the service of process, and the subject’s name. It is the document you can present in court to verify that successful service of process occurred.

Service of process must be carried out by a professional who understands the state laws, is well-versed on best practices and is licensed if required in that state. Any failure to follow legal procedures can result in legal issues for other parties in the court case, which is why you should leave service of process to a professional. An experienced and knowledgeable process server will do everything by the book and make it easy to demonstrate that you fairly notified the other parties of impending legal action.

Why Process Servers Are Important

Hiring a process server is an important step in ensuring a legal matter is heard by the court. Process servers provide defendants with notice of a pending lawsuit asserted against him/her. Process servers are important because they help uphold due process of law. Learn more about what a process server is responsible for, when you need to hire a professional process server and why they are important.

What is Due Process?

The U.S. Constitution requires that no person is deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of the law. In accordance with due process, the process server performs an important function of protecting the defendant’s rights by providing him/her with notice of a lawsuit/legal proceeding filed against him/her. Initially, a county’s sheriff served legal papers on defendants. As cities populations grew, process servers were used to alleviate the demand of ensuring documents were served in a timely manner. Proper service of process officially establishes jurisdiction over the defendant. Once a party is properly served, he/she must appear in court. If the defendant is properly served, and is aware that he/she is required to come to court, but fails to do so, the plaintiff can request a default judgment against the defendant.

What Are Process Servers Responsible For?

A process server is required to deliver a variety of legal documents to a party of a lawsuit. This includes writs, subpoenas to produce documents and/or testify in court, formal complaints, and a summons to appear in court. A process server can help you track down a defendant to provide service of process. Most states require neutral third parties over 18-years-old to serve court documents, litigants often hire process servers.

Once a complaint is filed, the plaintiff is required to personally serve it on the defendant. There are limited circumstances in which substituted service of process may be allowed including service by publication.

Service of Process vs. Service of Subsequent Documents

Service of process must be distinguished from service of subsequent documents. Service of process deals with providing a party with notice that a legal proceeding or lawsuit has been filed against him/her. The service of subsequent documents, such as motion papers or discovery between parties, occurs during the proceeding. Depending on the type of request being filed, for example a subpoena of business records, a process server may be required to personally serve the documents on the defendant. Review your local court rules to learn more about party notice requirements.

Should I Hire a Process Server?

Yes. Hiring a registered process server can help ensure your legal documents are delivered to the opposing party. A registered process server knows and understands the complex laws of process-serving. Teaming up with a competent process server can help you save time and money by avoiding common service of process pitfalls. A process server can help you track down a “hard to find” individual, or a person who attempts to avoid service all together.

Once a complaint is filed with the court, the plaintiff will have a specified period of time to serve the court summons and complaint on the defendant. If the plaintiff is unable to serve the defendant within that time-frame, the plaintiff will have to refile his/her complaint and start the service of process all over again. A complaint will not proceed unless proof is provided to the court that the defendant has received proper notice. This prompts the plaintiff into quickly serving the defendant. Hiring a registered process server can help ensure the defendant receives the court summons and complaint in a timely manner.

In addition to the initial personal service requirement, subsequent legal documents filed on each party must be responded to within a specified period of time. A process server is often used to ensure subsequent legal documents are served in a timely manner.

How Much Does a Process Server Cost?

The price of a service of process differs throughout United States. The total costs will depend on how many attempts the process server is required to make to serve the defendant and the distance he/she has to travel to do so. Out-of-state process server’s costs are higher. In addition, same day or rush services are billed at a higher rate. The national average of serving legal papers ranges between $75 – $125. When hiring a process server, you should ask how much it will costs, how long it will take to serve the documents, and the number of attempts the server will make.

Process servers are not allowed to use any means necessary to achieve service. Process Servers are required to operate within the law to ensure service is rendered legally. Remember, a plaintiff is not allowed to perform service of process. The plaintiff must utilize a neutral third party who is a disinterested third party, who is over 18 years of age.

What Is An Affidavit of Service?

An important step to effectively rendering service of process is completing the Affidavit of Service. The Affidavit of Service, also known as proof of service, is a sworn testimony signed by the process server. It is supporting delivery of case-related papers to one or more parties in a legal matter. It certifies service of a notice, summons, writ, or process. It shall also state the time, manner, and method of delivery in a summary manner. It provides a detailed account of how service of process was performed upon a specified party regarding a legal proceeding.

The affidavit includes information pertaining to the time, date, manner of service, and the identity of the person served.

Upon serving legal documents, the process server is required to prepare the proof of service to be filed with the local court to show that service of process was properly performed. If the proof of service is not filed with the county, the legal proceeding may be challenged and dismissed for improper service of process.

If a server is unable to render proper service, then he or she will still need to include a signed declaration stating that he or she made a good faith attempt to serve the specified party and provide detailed information of such attempts. Thus, if there is a challenge in court as to whether service of process was properly performed, the affidavit of non-service can be used to show that a good-faith attempt was made to contact the required party. See Rue v. Quinn. 137 Cal. 651, 655 (66 P. 216, 70 P. 732).

How Fraudulent Affidavits of Service Impact Legal Matters

Unfortunately, not all process servers are honest. Some servers may attest to un-accurate facts within their affidavit of service. If this occurs, the underlying cause of action may be dismissed due to improper service of process.

If a server makes fraudulent statements regarding service, he or she may be prosecuted for criminal conduct such as the forgery of court documents. Further, the server may also incur a civil suit from the affected party. Thus, it is important that a party utilizes an honest and reputable process server.

If you are the victim of a fraudulent process service, then you may be able to take civil legal action against the server. You will need to contact legal counsel for more information.

3 Reasons Why A Professional Process Server Is The Best Choice

There are two options when choosing someone to serve court papers in California: a process server or a deputy sheriff. Selecting a deputy sheriff can be the easier route. But a recent survey of legal professionals suggests that professional process servers are preferable to their sheriff counterparts. The survey, conducted by the process server network ServeNow, polled 100 paralegals, legal assistants, and legal secretaries. 78% of those polled preferred process servers in a number of areas, including speed, knowledge of laws, and success rate.

Knowledge of Laws?

The attention and duties of a sheriff are divided, but a registered process server focuses solely on the laws related to service of process. According to the poll, their practice and expertise make them far more efficient. 58% of legal professionals reported that professional process services are more knowledgeable than sheriffs in the complexities of the law.

Success Rate

Even more impressive is the reported success rate of professional servers. Most Process Server work 6 to 7 days a week with 10-14 hour days including nights, holidays and weekends. Nine out of 10 poll participants ranked professional serves above sheriffs in effectiveness. Law professionals who hired a private process server found a 92% rate of success, while professionals who used a sheriff reported a success rate of 78%. A low success rate can translate to costly delays in court proceedings or even a full case dismissal.

Price

The only area in which sheriffs received a higher rank was in overall cost. The nationwide average fee for a process server is $85.00, while the average fee for a sheriff is $40.00. However, according to reports, even the cost differential is negligible. The fee structure of a process server usually accounts for multiple attempts and other fees. The sheriff’s price does not include these additional fees or mileage costs. A sheriff is an option in some cases, but when it comes to reliability and expertise, a professional server might be worth the extra pay.

Costs of Hiring a Process Server

When you take legal action against another party, you generally need a process server to officially notify the other party. In most states service of process must be served by someone who is not a party to the case. The process server provides the person with a set of documents that describe the legal action. These documents can include summonses, complaints, subpoenas, writs and other court documents.

Cost of a Process Server

In the United States, the cost for the service of a document is usually set by state law. Each of the 50 states have their own set of laws governing who may serve the documents, how they must be served and the recoverable cost set for service. You can find these rules in the civil code of each state. However, most contracts are at $85. You may agree to extra costs or services with the server, but some costs may not be recoverable in court.

What Those Costs Cover

The cost of hiring a process server can be affected by many factors other than location. Not only will each state vary in the prices allowed for service of documents, but the type of case, difficulty level of the case, the type of process server you hire, how quickly you want the service done, where the service will take place – Generally, the more difficult it is for the professional to serve the papers, the more it will cost. These are important questions to ask a process server before hiring.

Sometimes the person being served legal papers avoids the process server. Process servers often call these “difficult” services. Due to the additional effort, investigative techniques and time required to serve the person, the process server charges more. These additional rates are negotiated between the process server and client, and usually reflect private investigation rates for the region.

The server may also charge extra If the person you are serving needs to be located, the process server will charge an extra hourly or flat fee for “skip trace” services and asset searches.

Yes! We travel where you need us. We have traveled extensively for weddings and events. However, there may be extra charges depending on the location and length of stay required

Yes, we are licensed travel agents and we have booked travel for so many clients around the world.

Yes! We have been in the wedding business since 1997 and we only deal with seasoned Professionals.

Documents are notarized to deter fraud and to ensure they are properly executed. An impartial witness (the Notary) identifies signers to screen out impostors and to make sure they have entered into agreements knowingly and willingly. Loan documents including deeds, affidavits, contracts, powers of attorney are very common documents needing notarization.

An uninvolved person (someone not mentioned in the document and not a family member). Neighbors and friends are commonly used.

A mobile notary is a notary who travels to the client. There is no legal distinction between a notary and a mobile notary as the government has no rules regarding mobile notaries and no paperwork necessary to become one providing you are a notary public in your state. Mobile notaries generally charge a travel fee on top of notary fees.

Most state laws do not expressly prohibit notarizing for a relative. However, Notaries who do so in many instances will violate statutes prohibiting a direct beneficial interest. For example, if a Notary is asked to witness his wife’s signature on a loan document for the purchase of a home they will share, he will directly benefit from the transaction and should disqualify himself. The likelihood of a direct beneficial interest is usually greater with immediate family members — spouse, mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother — than with non-immediate, such as in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. In many instances, a Notary will have no beneficial interest in notarizing for a relative and will not be prevented by law from doing so. However, to avoid later questioning of the Notary’s impartiality, as well as accusations of undue influence, it is always safest for a signer to find a Notary who is not related.

Only if the Notary is uncertain of a signer’s identity, willingness, mental awareness, or has cause to suspect fraud. Notaries may not refuse service on the basis of race, religion, nationality, lifestyle, or because the person is not a client or customer.

State laws vary on this point. Many states allow the notary to “personally know” the signer and notarize them without identification. Generally, a signer should have valid government issued identification such as a current driver’s license, state or military ID, or passport. Some states allow credible witnesses to sign the notary journal and identify the signer.

The notary is not allowed to give legal advice and choosing the type of notarization would constitute legal advice. A Notary is forbidden from preparing legal documents or acting as a legal advisor unless he or she is also an attorney. Violators can be prosecuted for the unauthorized practice of law, so a Notary cannot answer your legal questions or provide advice about your particular document.

A notary public is a state official appointed by state government to witness the signing of important documents, administer oaths and affirmations, certify copies of certain documents, and in some states write affidavits, depositions, and protests. The most important purpose of the notary public is to make sure that the person who signed the document is properly identified and that there is a permanent record of the information pertinent to the signing in the notary journal. Please keep in mind that state laws differ and that not all notarizations in all states require identification.

This clearly takes the top spot. One of the key reasons it comes up so often is that Notaries are confronted with a growing array of identity cards. Consider that every state and U.S. territory issues driver’s licenses and ID cards. On top of that, there are inmate IDs, tribal IDs and identity cards issued by federal government agencies. Then there are the identity cards and passports issued by every country in the world. Given the mobile nature of our society and the fact that there are 43 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S., there’s a good chance most Notaries will encounter an unfamiliar ID. Deciding whether an ID is acceptable depends on where you are commissioned, so you will need to know the requirements and guidelines of your state. Some states — such as California, Florida and Tennessee — provide specific lists of acceptable IDs. In these states, if the ID is not on the list, it is not acceptable.

Other jurisdictions — such as Kansas, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia — “recommend” types of ID or offer guidance about the elements of an acceptable ID. Still other states, including New York, do not offer any guidance. For these states, the NNA recommends that an acceptable ID be issued by a government agency and include the bearer’s recent photograph, signature and physical description.

Please keep in mind that our Mobile Notary Service is based on mileage, and the mileage is calculated in addition to Notary Fees and Convenience Charges. To see a full listing of our current rates, please view our website Service Rates. We are able to service the Entire state of South Carolina.

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