The first time you have a need to serve court papers, you might start thinking about who the people are that serve the papers. What are their qualifications? The following is an explanation of who and what a process server is.

Qualifications Vary by State

Some states have more relaxed rules on who can serve papers. The common denominator between states is usually that a party in the case cannot serve the papers. There may be exceptions, but these circumstances often need to be approved by a judge. In some states there is also a limit as to how many times process serving can be done by non-professionals.

Qualifications in California

In order to serve court papers in California, you simply need to be 18 years old and not the party involved in the legal action. However, if you serve court papers 10 times or more in a year, you need to be registered.

Registration means posting a cash bond. It should be noted that licensed private investigators, like our firm, are exempt from this requirement because the standards for a license to practice private investigation work in the state are much higher.

What to Expect From a Process Server

Or course, like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. You can get a friend or someone else you know to do it for free if you need to save money. In this case, your friend will need to know exactly when and where to serve the papers.

A step up from this is to use a professional process server. They will cost money, but will be able to serve papers as long as it is a routine servicing. They will attempt to serve a person at home or at work, and this may be enough. However, even if an individual attempts to evade a process server, it is still likely that a professional process server will be successful.

Using a Private Investigator

Many professional investigation firms, such as ours, can legally serve court papers. Naturally, since we are also private investigators, we have a broad range of skills in finding people. This goes well beyond what a typical professional process server will do. In addition, if the location of the individual is known, but you simply cannot get him or her to answer the door or they are evading a process server in other ways, we have techniques to bring them out into the open, so they can be served.

Knowing the standards for your state, the question of who you hire will directly affect how routine the process serving job becomes. If you don’t anticipate any problems, you can hire a process server to do the job. But to avoid any delays or problems you should give us a call.

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Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is a private investigator and founder of Tristar Investigation, California’s premiere detective agency. Bruce is also a media commentator for the investigation industry, featured in the New York Times, CNN, History Channel, MSNBC, Los Angeles Times and many more. You can find him on Google+ LinkedIn and YouTube.
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