Anticipated Questions ? Overview
A. What is The Service of Process, and What does a Process Server do?
Since you are lawfully unable to serve the documents yourself, or, have anyone who is directly involved with the case serve your papers, you are well advised to hire a professional process server to do so for you. The Process Server is expertly trained in the methods and manner for which to serve legal documents. A Service of Process is a Summons, Writ, or Mandate used by the court to compel the appearance of a defendant in a legal action in compliance with it's orders. Very Important to Note: That Improperly served process may either hinder or delay a case from going forward. Cases may be also thrown out of court as well. If that happens, the process must start all over again.
A Process Server has often been described as an "Impartial 3rd party to whom is both a participant in, and a witness to, a critical event in the litigation process", known as the "Service of Process". The Process Server delivers this legal process to a particular person or entity in a specific manner consistent with applicable statute and/or court orders. The Process Server then attests to that occurence in a declaration of truth under penalty of perjury, or when necessary in sworn testimiony before the court. The Work Product of the Process Server is called The Affidavit, (In Latin, 'Affidavit' translates to "he has sworn") or The Proof of Service, attesting to the fact that the particular person or entity was given legal process in the manner prescribed by law.
That is what the courts rely upon. That is what the client pays for.
Thus, the Process Server's work must be-beyond reproach.
When service is performed, the Process Server's return of the Affidavit of Service imparts verity and is accepted by the courts because he acts under the sworn sanctions of his official oath of duty.
The Service of Process is basically the procedure by which the party to a lawsuit gives an appropriate notice of initial legal action to another party (such as a defendant) court, or administrative body in an effort to exercise jurisdiction over that person or entity so as to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court, body, or the other tribunal.
"Notice" is furnished by delivering a set of court documents (called "process") to the person or entity to be served. There are generally three types of service that occurs:
1. "Personal Service" is the service of process directly to the (or a) party named on the summons, complaint, or petition. Personal service has been the preferred hallmark of process serving for 100 years. In most lawsuits in the United States, personal service is required in order to prove service. Most states do allow for what is known as "substitute service" if unable to serve the party personally. In almost all lawsuits, unless a corporation, or LLC, or LLP, is being served substitute service is acceptable. In those corporate instances, personal service must be achieved by serving the documents to a "registered agent", or officer of the corporation, business entity or charter. In NYS most any officer of the corporation (President ,VP, Treasurer, Secretary, etc.) may be served if we can uncover their identity. If service cannot be effectuated by locating an officer of the corporation or registered agent, service upon the Secretary of State in Albany, NY will be necessary. Inquire within.
Personal service upon an individual has been the hallmark for service of process for over 100 years. Primarily because it guarantees actual notice to a defendant of a legal action against him or her. Personal service remains today the most reliable and effacious way to both ensure compliance with constitutionally imposed due process requirements of notice to a defendant and the opportunity to be heard.
2. "Substitute Service" allows the Process Server to leave the documents with another responsible party, a person of "suitable age and discretion" such as a cohabitating adult, teenager, or often times with an employee with management duties, a front desk receptionist, or even in certain cases that have proved in law as acceptable service, the serving of a doorman if serving at someone's office or workplace, or their apartment building. Subsitute Service often requires the Process Server to demonstrate that he/she has justly performed sufficient "due diligence" and that a concerted effort was made in an attempt to serve the individual, and that in fact ubstitute service was practical. It is followed by mailing copies copies by US Mail and Certified Mail to the person to be served. In this case, the substituted service should reach the party and effect notice. This would all be detailed in the Affidavit of Service discussed earlier.
3. "Non-Service" occurs when the process server has been unable to effect service after attempting the service a numer of times withourt success. In this case a Affidavit of Non-Service is created for the client. An affidavit of non-service, like an affidavit-of-service, is a sworn legal statement indicating that a service was not able to be effectuated and that "due-diligence" was made on the part of the process server in an effort to locate the individual or entity. This statement goes on record to demonstrate that the efforts made to locate the subject failed, and provides accurate details about when and how service was attempted. If and when the case reaches court, this affidavit can be used to prove a good faith effort was made to attempt contact the defendant and alert them as to their scheduled time /date of the hearing, and/or to provide them with the necessary court documents. In other words, you did what was required of you and made the necessary effort as required by law to contact that party. Non-Service occurs often when someone may have either moved and left no forwarding address, the defendant had intentionally provided a false address, the address provided does not exist, or the service has been cancelled by the litigants after givin over to the process server for service- amongst other reasons.
B. What happens in the case where the Process Server encounters a defendant whom does not wish to be served?
Logic would certainly dictate that most normal people certainly would not ever desire to be served with legal papers of any sort or kind ever. Therefore, defendants are not always routinely served with ease. Fortunately though, most individuals do accept service gracefully without any issue. Others unfortunately do not. Rules governing the manner in which service is performed vary from State to State. In most states, the general rule is that documents must be delivered in plain sight and visible to the person who is being served. Thus, they cannot be delivered in a sealed envelope in some veiled attempt at having an individual presupposing that they are receiving "good news", or that they have for example "just won the lottery". A routine service is typically performed in the manner as follows: An approach to the residence, a knock at the door, a positive identification of the individual is requested and confirmed, a breif explanation of the identity of the Process Server and what the situation is all about, papers are then handed to and accepted by the subject individual. Process Server takes applicable photo's, departs and logs his entry.
Serves are also performed in many unconventional ways too as people come in various sizes and shapes. A myriad of different creative ways of service may be employed on a given day depending on the situation and the party to be served. Often times lengthy research on a defendant shall be necessary prior to the attempted visit. A well thought out strategized game plan for the serve is generally considered wise as this can often be the hinge behind the success of the service of process, or the opposite. There are times when service of a defendant can pose a significant challenge for the process server. A defendant may live behind high walls or gates, or heavy security. Defendants may live behind the guarded doors of a doorman, concierge, office building or gated community. Defendant's may also purposely be avoiding service and/or may have become proficient at avoiding prior service attempts. The Process Server must face these day-to-day obstacles which he must overcome in order to be successful. This is where extensive knowledge of applicable laws and statute come into play. This is where the difference between a competent Process Server and an incompetent one is realized. Therefore, one's choice in whom they are assigning the task to conduct their service should be a thoroughly researched one, and not simply be predicated on price, but of the quality of the operation and its reputation in the industry.
As you see, the role of process servers is very challenging and also an extremely important part of the legal system.
Again, if for any reason that the subject individual refuses to accept service by, ie: refusing to accept the documents, fleeing, abruptly closing the door, and/or behaving erraticaly, etc., and the subject individual has in fact been positively identified, the Process Server may under the Civil Practices Law & Regulations (CPLR) "drop" the documents, and it shall be considered "good (valid) service". At Westchester Judicial Services, Ltd., it is our standard policy to fully familiarize ourselves with each individual whom is being served and understanding the contents of the documents that are to be served, prior to the serve. A concerted effort is made to always use consideration whenever possible in serving each defendant. We make every possible effort to discreetly perform the duties of each service with a friendly overture, thoughtfully explaining to the defendant the nature of the lawsuit in which they have been named a party to. Often times the Process Server is forced to diffuse a tense situation and offer some practical basic practical advice on court procedure, civil procedural rules, court calendar, and the like. Our studies have shown that Defendants tend to most often appreciate the authority of the Process Server, and the service of process is generally performed effortlessly. Each day we prove that mainatining high affability and confidence with a defendant lends itself to a more positive outcome for our clients as well as the process server. With our human method of serving process, defendant's have a less likelihood of ever "denying" receipt of service, responding as mandated, showing up for court, or creating an onerous environment for themselves or the server. It is with this motto in mind that our servers set out each day.
There are unfortunately some infrequent times when this manner of business is not achievable and other more defusive measures must be undertaken. In the case where the inability to locate a defendant has grown increasingly frustrating or impossible, whether the reason be purposeful or incidental, we recommend using our Advanced People Finding Service Techniques, which has proven extremely effective in quickly locating the missing or elusive.
C. Why would Attorney's and Pro-se litigants hire a Process Server instead of using the Sheriff or a Constable?
Because process servers have a strong financial interest in ensuring that the process is served. Law enforcement officers who serve in bulk, get paid whether the process is served effectively or not, and have little incentive for doing so. Additionally, serving legal documents is obviously not their primary function. Private process servers take the the extra measures to make sure that the process is served correctly and with necessary speed. Service of Process is their main function. This is what they are trained to do. Your important legal matter cannot allow for anything less than top notch performance. Because your documents must be delivered in a timely fashion or risk having your case thrown out or hindered, the cost for hiring a private process server should be invaluable. "When a case is delayed, justice is also delayed." Should children have to wait 30-60 days for a continuance in child support cases because service of process was not served correctly? What about a person who has been emotionally or physically injured? Because the process server is motivated by keeping the process server's business profitable and his good reputation intact, the use of a private process server, as opposed to law enforcement by individuals is essential to getting the job done correctly and for attorney's to protect their client's interest, saving money in the long run and assisting in maintaining a healthy attorney-client relationhip. As most attorney's can attest, when the relationsip between the attorney and client is a good one, counsel is most effective.
D. How will you help me get my child support from the non-custodial parent?
Nationwide, non-custodial parents are failing to prepare a suitable future for their children. The lack of support can play a devastating role in the well being of a child. It also places a tremendous burden on single parent and on the community. We work in conjunction with Westchester County Courts and Local Law Enforcement to assist you in receiving your court-ordered child support. Take comfort in knowing that in Westchester County, NY these matters are not taken lightly. There are numerous approaches to the recovery of support. The following comprises a list of some of our available options:
-Income Tax Withholding.
-Delinquent Report on all Credit Bureau's.
-Suspension of Driver's License.
-Revocation or denial of Passport.
-Court Ordered Employment.
-Garnishee of wages.
-Levy on property.
The Golden Rule:
Westchester Judicial Services, Ltd., maintains high personal standards of excellence that shall not ever impugn upon the reputation of the process serving profession. Trust is hard to come by these days, but you can rest assured that your service of process will at-all-times be effectuated promptly, competently and in a professional manner. We offer significant dollar value for the multi-tiered excellence in the service that we provide. And, we guarantee our work, and most always "get our man." Few can hide from our resources.
We love what we do and we look forward to being able to assist you with your own particular legal need.
So, let's get started...!
Contact us today in Westchester, New York, to find out more about service of process, skip tracing, and our other legal support services;
Did you know that Westchester borders Connecticut and that our Chappaqua, NY office is literally within 20 minutes of Fairfield County, CT?
WE SERVE LOCAL LEGAL WESTCHESTER PROCESS IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY AND IN THE FOLLOWING GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS:
The Entire County of Westchester, New York | State of New York | The Bronx | Putnam and Orange County | Parts of Connecticut
Cities in Westchester, County NY
Mount Vernon, Westchester County, NY- New Rochelle,Westchester County, NY- Peekskill,Westchester, NY- Rye, Westchester, NY-White Plains, Westchester, NY & Yonkers,Westchester, NY
Towns in Westchester, NY
Bedford, Westchester, NY-Cortlandt,Westchester, NY- Eastchester, Westchester, NY-Greenburgh, Westchester, NY- Harrison, Westchester, NY-Lewisboro Westchester, NY-, Mamaroneck,Westchester, NY- Mount Kisco, Westchester, NY-Mount Pleasant, Weschester, NY- New Castle, Westchester, NY-North Castle, Westchester, NY - Salem, Westchester, NY-Ossining,Westchester, NY- Pelham, Westchester, NY-Pound Ridge, Westchester, NY- Rye,-Westchester, NY- Scarsdale, Westchester, NY- Somers, Westchester, NY & Yorktown, Westchester, NY
Villages In Westchester, NY:
Ardsley, Westchester-NY-Briarcliff Manor,Westchester, NY- Bronxville, Westchester, NY-Buchanan, Westchester, NY-Croton-on-Hudson, Westchester, NY-Dobbs Ferry,Westchester,NY - Elmsford, Westchester, NY-Harrison, Westchester, NY-Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester,NY-Irvington, Westchester,- NY-Larchmont, Westchester, NY- Mamaroneck,Westchester, NY- Mount Kisco, Westchester, NY-Chappaqua, Westchester, NY-Ossining,Westchester, NY- Pelham, Westchester, NY-Pelham Manor,Westchester, NY- Pleasantville,Westchester, NY- Port Chester,Westchester, NY- Rye Brook,Westchester, NY- Scarsdale, Westchester, NY-Sleepy Hollow,Westchester, NY- Tarrytown, Weschester, NY, &Tuckahoe, Westchester County, NY
Armonk, Westchester, NY-Bedford, Westchester,NY-Bedford Hills,Westchester,NY- Chappaqua,Westchester,NY- Crompond, Westchester, NY-Crugers, Westchester, NY-Eastchester, Westchester, NY-Fairview,Westchesteer, NY- Golden's Bridge,Westchester, NY- Greenville, Hartsdale, Hawthorne, Heritage Hills, Jefferson Valley-Yorktown, Katonah, Lake Mohegan, Lincolndale, Montrose, Peach Lake, Scotts Corners, Shenorock, Shrub, Oak, Thornwood, Valhalla, Verplanck, & Yorktown Heights
Westchester County, NY Hamlets & Westchester, NY Elsewhere:
Banksville, Westchester County, NY - Bedford Corners,Westchester County,NY-Cortlandt Manor, Westchester County, NY-Granite Springs, Chappaqua, Millwood, Pocantico Hills, Westchester, NY-Purchase, Westchester, NY - South Salem, Westchester County, NY-Sparta,Westchester County, NY & Waccabu, Westchester County, NY