FAQ of legal process serversFrequently Asked Questions

Who uses process servers?

  • Attorneys, law firms, paralegals and legal professionals
  • Banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders
  • Small business and corporations
  • Revenue recovery agents, debt collection agencies
  • General public, pro se clients
  • Government offices
  • Private investigators, other process servers
  • Landlords, property management

Anyone that has filed a lawsuit needs a process server to serve the other party notice. The Constitution requires that no defendant be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of the law. Service of process is an important part of due process. Process servers perform the important function of protecting a defendants’ rights.

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All states abide by a legal procedure requires that each party named in a case will be notified if actions are taken against them in a court of law. Service of process is an essential and mandatory aspect of Due Process. This ensures the parties rights are protected and is a cornerstone of our nations courts. Rules of civil procedure vary from state to state. You should visit the State Rules of Civil Procedure section to learn more about service of process in your state.

A defendant/respondent is required to be notified of any and all legal actions being taken against them and court proceedings in which they are named or involve them through the delivery of civil or criminal documents referred to as service of legal process such as summons, complaints, a subpoena to testify as a witness or produce documents, an order to show cause, child custody orders etc.

In many instances “substituted service” is allowed. This method of legal process service is when the documents are left with an adult or person of reasonable age and residing in the same dwelling as the defendants usual place of abode, or with a person expressly authorized to accept service of process at their place of business. Some circumstances permit posting the legal process in a prominent place accompanied with service by certified mail. Courts will require Affidavits of Posting and Service by Mail to be filed following this method of service.

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Who is allowed to serve civil process?

In many states, any US citizen that is not a party to the case, over the age of 18, and residing in the state where the matter is to be tried can serve papers. Process serving laws vary from state to state and can be changed.

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What does a civil process server do?

A legal process server serves (process). These documents and/or court orders,  to the defendant or individual listed on the legal document being served. Once the documents have been properly served, an Affidavit of Service is notarized and given to the party who requested the service. A new law in Minnesota regarding Proof of Service took effect July 1, 2015 which does not require the Affidavit be notarized. The exception to this rule is a subpoena. Notarization requirements on the most current Minnesota Subpoena Affidavits forms are still present.

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How much does service of process cost?

On average, the cost of a routine service can range anywhere from $45 – $100 or more. See our fees. Prices will be lower in some states and higher in others. As the serve becomes more difficult or costly for the process server, expect to pay a higher fee for service. You may incur mileage fees or skip tracing fees if you need the persons home address located. If you require same day or next day service of process, expect to pay a higher rate. Twin Cities Served does not charge mileage fees unless the circumstances are extraordinary.

When receiving fee quotes from your process server, don’t be afraid to ask questions. “When will you make a first attempt?” Will I be notified if there are difficulties with service?” Will you let me know when my party has been served?” “How many attempts will you make?” etc…

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How can I send the court paper to the process server?Electronic Communication

In many cases you will be able to fax or email papers to the process server. If the original stamped court documents need to be served you will need to mail, deliver personally to the process server or make arrangements for the process server to pick the documents up from you. A fee may apply for document pickup to offset time and travel costs. Our contact information.

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How long does it take to get papers served?

Service of process turn around time will vary from process server to process server. However, this is something that can be determined in most cases by you, which usually leads to a higher cost. Most process servers prioritize service of process by:

  • Same Day Service | 4 – 8 hours.
  • Rush Service | 72 hours.
  • Routine Service | 3 – 5 days.

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Where can defendants be served?

This depends on which state the papers are being served in or are coming from. This is another reason why you need a process server. In most states, you can serve anyone anywhere at anytime. In Minnesota, you may substitute serve an individual at their primary residence or usual place of abode, leaving the court paper with any individual also residing at the same address and of reasonable age, generally 14 years or older. In some states you are not allowed to serve someone at their residence on Sundays, or while traveling to and from a court of law. 

Minnesota and many other states don’t allow service of process on federal holidays. A Minnesota process server must abide by the laws set forth from the state in which the court case originated. Check the laws in your state or inquire about rules of civil procedure with a professional process server in the state where service of process is required.

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What if the party named in my lawsuit can’t be found?evading-the-process-server-200x133px

If the named party in the documents can’t be found, or your defendant may be evading service of process, the court may allow service by publication in a newspaper. Before this can happen, you may have to prove to the court that due diligence was made to serve the defendant or the person named. Hiring a professional process server in this case is a smart choice.

In some states a “Substitute Service” is acceptable, meaning someone other than the defendant is served. This should be done only as the last resort and shown as part of the due diligence process. Please refer to the rules of civil procedure in your state.

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Will a process server file proof of service with the court?

Yes. Most process servers offer legal support services including document filing. Due to the added cost of time, travel and logistics the process server will in most cases charge an additional fee for this service.

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What if the person refuses to accept the papers?

In most instances the defendant does not have to willingly accept service in order for it to be considered effective. If the respondent comes to the door, but refuses the papers, the process server will generally leave them at their feet and leave the premises. In some states proper service has been perfected if the person admits to being the defendant and or they touch the papers. Please refer to the service of process laws in your state. Minnesota does not require the defendant to actually touch the documents. In many instances the papers are simply left in plain view. The process server may include the circumstances of a difficult or extraordinary service in their affidavit of personal service allowing the court to get the full picture of the defendant’s demeanor during the service.

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Do I really need a process server?Service of process and MN civil procedure

Obtaining the services of a process server is one of the first steps in proceeding with a court case. Process servers have knowledge and experience you’re looking when you need legal documents served to the party named in your lawsuit in an expedient manner and, more importantly, they will serve them in accordance with the local and state process serving rules and regulations.

Many requirements are associated with state rules of civil procedure. In some states you cannot serve on Sundays or holidays. Some places do not allow papers to be served on a person traveling to court. It is also very important to note that papers cannot be served by someone who is involved in the case or legal proceeding.

If a service of legal process is not performed in accordance with these rules, it may hinder your case from going forward, or result in the dismissal of your case. If you want your court papers to be served properly, a professional legal process servers fees are well worth the cost.

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Does a process server need to be licensed in Minnesota?

Minnesota does not require a process server to be licensed. Some states do require process servers be registered in their county or state, or appointed to serve in a specific county. Some states require process servers to be identified and must receive permission from the court for the named process server to serve papers to a specific individual prior to service.

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What is an Affidavit of Personal Service?

An Affidavit of Service is a signed document provided to you by your process server upon completion of serving your documents. Proof of Service states when, where, and who was served. There are a number of other affidavits that can be provided to you as a client. For instance, an Affidavit of Due Diligence may be provided if the person to be served cannot be located.

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