What Happens If I Avoid a Process Server

You’ve heard that someone plans to sue you, or you know your spouse recently filed for divorce. In both of these situations, you’ll need to be served with official legal paperwork for the court proceedings to move forward.

“I’ll just avoid the process server,” you think. “Problem solved!”


While you may be able to physically avoid a process server for a period of time, you’re just delaying and dragging out your court case. Avoiding a process server makes a case take more time and more money; avoidance doesn’t make it go away completely.

The court’s first, and preferred, method of service is PERSONAL SERVICE, which means  handing the papers directly to the person being served.

However, even if you don’t touch the papers when they come from the process server, or you don’t sign any sort of paper acknowledging receipt, you still have been served.

In some cases, whoever answers the door at your residence can be served. This is called Substitute Service, which in most states is allowed and is as good as PERSONAL SERVICE. This means that your spouse, roomate, or even an adult child can be served with papers in your case. In most states a competent person over the age of 18 can accept papers.

Even if you do manage to avoid a process server for a time, the person trying to serve you papers has some additional options:

Service by Certified Mail

The process server has tried to get someone at your home or work but hasn’t had any luck. Next, the person serving you can try sending the documents through the mail.

Service of process by certified mail is acceptable and legal in some states so long as you can provide proof that the papers were sent, and that there wasn’t a problem with the address.

Service by Posting on Your Door

After several attempts, a motion can be filed with the court, and the judge will authorize the process server to post on your front door. At Torri’s Legal Services, we take pictures of the posting on the front door and submit that to the court with our affidavit of service.

Service by Notice

Finally, if all other methods of reaching you have failed, the court can allow the person suing you to serve you by notice placed in a local newspaper.

As long as the paper is circulated in the area where you live and meets certain other criteria, the court can consider you served with just an advertisement.

Although you may think that avoiding a process server is a good way to keep a lawsuit from happening, no matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid the suit from proceeding. And if you don’t show up to court, you could lose more than you would have if you’d accepted service and fought the case.

Experienced Nationwide Process Service

At Torri’s Legal Services, we have more than 25 years of experience serving legal documents in jurisdictions across the country and all over the world. Our professional, knowledgeable process servers make sure your documents are served quickly and correctly the first time. Call today for a quote!

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