How Long Does It Take to Serve Papers?

One question new clients frequently ask us is: How long will it take to serve my papers?

While we always aim to be speedy in our process serving duties, there are a variety of factors that go into how long it takes our team to successfully complete service of process upon a defendant or witness.

Here are some things that can slow down the process of getting papers served:

Inaccurate Service Information

The more accurate the information about the person to be served and the address to serve at, the faster we can complete service.

If you are certain that we’ll be able to find the subject at the address you provide, chances are good we can make quick work of serving your papers. However, if you only have an old address or aren’t confident that the address you’re giving us is correct, service may take a bit longer.

In cases where the person no longer lives at an address we’re given, we typically have to perform a skip trace to find more recent information. This can add days to the process, and the harder the person is to find, the longer the process is.

Speedy tip: Do your best to provide your process server with accurate contact information for the person being served.

Individual Not Home

Process servers can’t leave papers if there’s no one home. So, if the subject we’re trying to serve is out of town, works irregular or unusual, or otherwise isn’t home often, it can slow down our process serving.

To help combat this problem, many process servers do attempt to serve papers at various times of day on repeated attempts in the hope of catching a subject at home.

However, the more information you can provide on a person’s work schedule and other general movements in and out of the house, the better we’re able to ensure a process server can catch them at the right time.

Speedy tip: Give your process server as much information as you can about a subject’s daily schedule so they can plan their service attempts accordingly.

Hazardous Entrances

While a process server’s sworn duty is to serve legal papers in a timely and accurate manner, they are never expected to put their own safety at risk to do so.

If a process server encounters obviously dangerous conditions at a site where they’re supposed to serve papers – dogs roaming around, lots of bushes and overgrowth impeding their ability to see their surroundings, aggressive residents, locked gates, etc. – they may not be able to complete service at that location.

Should a process server run into hazardous conditions, they may seek an alternative address, such as a workplace, where they can serve papers, or they may try another method of service of process, such as filing something with the court. 

Speedy tip: Collect as much information about the exterior of the service address as you can before sending the process server off,  so they can anticipate any potentially hazardous conditions.

Subject Dodging Service

No one likes to hear that they’re being sued or that they have to show up to testify in court. But some people go to extremes to dodge a process server, thinking that any legal actions will stop if they can’t be served.

The more a subject avoids being served, the longer the process takes.

While there really isn’t much that process servers can do if someone actively avoids all attempts to serve them, having as much information about the person and those who live with them can help us complete service as quickly as possible.

Speedy tip: Provide your process server with ample information about the subject being served, including potential alternative addresses for service. Any information you can provide about additional adults living with the subject is helpful, too, as service can be left with someone over 18 if the actual subject continues to dodge your process server.

Professional Nationwide Process Servers

At Torri’s Legal Services, we make it our mission to complete your service of process as quickly as possible while still making sure we’re accurately serving the person and upholding the law. If you need service of process, even across the country, our skilled team can help. Call today for a quote!

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