Legal Questions? / Legal Answers!

Serving a Summons The Easy Way.

"There are many reasons for needing to serve a summons or other legal paperwork. Maybe to get the other party to court for a Parental Right & Responsibilities Order or A Motion To Modify Order. Maybe to get witnesses to court to testify for you. No matter what the reason, there is a process that has to be followed to do this the correct way. Did you know that when you have something to be served, it can be served without the use of a Sheriff or Police Officer?"

The Rules

1. The person serving the summons must be over 18.
2. The person serving the summons must sign the affidavit that it has been served.
3. The person serving the summons cannot be any part to the court action. ( witness )
4. The person serving the summons Cannot Be You!

The person serving the summons has to sign an affidavit which states the name of the court and the names of the parties involved. It must be signed by the plaintiff, ( you ) and give the address within the state where the other party (Defendant ) may be served.

The signed affidavit needs to be filed with the court, along with what ever court forms you are filing.

It's that easy.

"Now let me give you some advice here. I would suggest that you do not use anyone the other party knows, to serve the summons. No family members, no friends. The other party may realize what is trying to be done and make themselves harder to serve. If they have never seen the person standing at their door, or who walks up to the vehicle they are getting into, they probably will take the envelope. Besides, using a family or friend can cause bad feelings on everyone's part. If you cannot find anyone to serve your paperwork, there is another way. In fact, a better way!"

It is a much better way to serve someone because you involved no-one!

You can mail all the paperwork to the other party Registered Mail. Subpoenas, Modify Orders, any legal paperwork you need to serve on the other party can be done through the mail. The signed green card is all you need to file with the court, to prove the summons was received.

I actually recommend you serve anyone through the registered mail instead of having someone hand them the summons. The green card is your proof, The affidavit that is signed by the person who serves the summons, is never signed by the other party. I believe that leaves a question of doubt of service and you may need the person who served the summons, to testify that they did do so.

"OK. I know that there is a real good chance that the green card will be rejected by the other party. I know because I used to take people to court for bad checks. In order to do so I had to prove where they lived. Getting that signature on that green card was how I did that. I found it wasn't easy to do. If they know who it is from, they just refuse to sign for it. So I came up with some ideas."

"I went up to the shoe department and found a small shoe box. I folded my legal paperwork in a way so that if you shook the box, it would sound like it had something in it. Maybe a Prize? I then wrapped the box up with brown paper. Remember, the box has to be big enough to attach the green card to. I put the address of the other party on the front of the green card. I then put a known name of a company in the left hand corner of the box. I didn't write the company's return address on the corner, just the name! That way, if it becomes undeliverable, the postmaster will have to tear the green card on one side, and read your address on the other side, to see where it gets returned. That way, it gets returned to you. You can use any company name you'd like. If I was sending it to a female, I used Frederick's of Hollywood as the Company Name and wrote on the box in big red letters, "Congratulations! You won!" If it was a male, I used Sports Illustrated as the Company Name. and wrote the same big "Congratulations! You Won!" red letters on their box."

The only boxes I ever received back, were the boxes I sent to people who had since moved. Most all others signed the card!

Do not put a fake address on the green card. Your real address is hidden until the person it was sent to signs fo it. If it asks for it on the front, (I don't believe it does but I haven't checked) don't put anything.

There you go! For less than $9.00 you have had the other party served and no one was involved.

When you receive the green card back, take all your paperwork and that card, to the clerk of courts at the courthouse and they will file everything for you.

You will have to pay a fee to file your paperwork unless you file a waiver. see: "Filing For A Waiver Of The Filing Fee."

BTW... "If the other party has an Attorney, you can have the summons hand delivered to their Attorney. You can then use a family member or friend to deliver the summons to the Attorney's office. They Attorney or the secretary for the Attorney, will then sign that they receive the summons."

Hope this idea helps you to get your registered "box" signed for and saves you some money and aggravation on the serving process.

My Final Thought...

"Don't forget that you only have a certain number of days to file your paperwork with the court, once that Green Card has been signed. If you are applying for a waiver of fees, see: "Filing For A Waiver Of The Filing Fee." you should get an answer on your request within 7 days. If you are denied a waiver request, make sure you have the filing fees ready. If you do not file your court forms within their time frame, you will have to start the whole process all over. Ask the Clerk of Courts how long you have to file your paperwork after getting back your signed Green Card or Service of Summons. If for some reason you need to start the process over again,you will have loss the "element of surprise" in getting that Green Card signed. This time around you probably will need to have the forms delivered by a Process Server."