Process Service : What is Process Service and should I hire someone to serve my legal documents?

Process Service is a procedure for serving legal documents to a person or an entity such as a business. There are a wide array of legal documents that served on people. Some of the more common documents include Criminal subpoenas, Civil subpoenas, Summons, Divorce and Child Custody documents, and subpoenas requesting documents from a company, just to name a few.

There are legal requirements surrounding the proper way legal documents are served and filed through the court system. It is important that these requirements are followed properly so that when the case goes to court there are no delays caused by improper service. You could also incur more fees due to these delays.

In Idaho these procedures are found in the Idaho Code of Civil Procedure. Listed below are some of the procedures:

  • No license required for Process Server
  • Must be 18 years or older and not a party to the action
  • Summons/Complaint must be served within 6 months of filing
  • Person executing process need not have original document when serving
  • Service may be accomplished by direct service to the individual or to a person over the age of 18 residing with the individual
  • Serving process to a corporation may be accomplished by delivering a copy to the authorized agent of the corporation. 
  • Proof of service shall be files with the court of jurisdiction and must include the name of the Process Server, manner of service, and the date and place of service. 

For a full description of the Process Server procedures in Idaho see the Idaho code of Civil Procedure

So you may be asking yourself should I hire a Process Server to serve my legal documents? The quick, but not so clear answer, is maybe. If you have legal documents to serve to someone that is cooperate, easy to locate, and is not avoiding service, then you may be able to have a willing friend do it for you. Then you will have to follow proper court procedures to file the proof of service. This can save you time and money if all goes well.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Process Service cases involves people that don’t necessarily want to be served or found, or they are of questionable character and you wouldn’t feel comfortable having someone you know or that isn’t trained approaching them. This is where you should hire a professional to do the job. Most Process Servers charge $75 to $100 to serve documents and will usually include several attempts. Some also charge time and mileage depending on the company. If the service requires a Process Server to “locate” a person and then attempt service, additional fees will be charged.

My best recommendation to a client is to hire a professional Process Server, if there is any doubt that the person will be uncooperative, difficult to locate, or potentially confrontational.