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Five most common approaches are used for service of process:

  • Personal Service
  • Substituted Service
  • Service on a Corporation
  • Service by Posting
  • Service by Publication

Each method is used in certain situations and lawfully acceptable.    

Personal Service is favored as it is hard to attack its legality and it is the most effective way of providing notice. Individual  Service means in-hand-delivery of the documents to the appropriate person. Traditionally personal service was the sole approach to service because it was best suited to give the defendant notice of the proceedings, as permitted by law.

Substituted Service is any approach used instead of private service. Forms of substituted service vary among different jurisdictions, but all are designed to provide an excellent possibility that the defendant actually will find out about the proceedings. If your defendant isn't at home, many states permit service by leaving the summons and complaint with any individual in the defendant's house who's old enough to comprehend the duty of accepting service and resides in the home.  (You couldn’t substitute serve the housekeeper.”  Under some states' laws, substituted service may be properly used after diligent efforts to effect personal service have failed. Some kinds of service that is substituted may need to be tried before others can be utilized. Other states permit replaced service at any given time or following one effort to obtain the defendant and serve the papers personally.

Service on a Corporation is used when a corporate entity is being served.  Since a corporation is not a natural person, there are specific rules to follow to ensure notice is given the appropriate party.  States on different rules for corporate service.  Some states allow for the corporation to designate a person who can accept service on behalf of the corporation, “The Registered Agent”.

Service by Posting may be allowed when a property is involved.  The papers would be posted on the door or in some conspicuous place, after attempts to serve Personally or Substituted.  This method is often called "nail and mail" service. Several states allow service simply by mailing the papers to the defendant's real address; registered mail is usually required. States also consider this service valid in the event the defendant's property is attached, or lawfully seized, within the state, as well as having the papers mailed to him.

Service by Publication can be called constructive service as the court construes it to be powerful even if the notice is not actually read by the defendant. Generally the legal notice should be published in at least one paper of general circulation where the defendant is probably located or where the court is located or in both places if they are different. Ordinarily the notice must be printed on more than one occasion, for example once a week for two weeks.

 Although courts acknowledge defendants seldom read notices published in papers, but the attempt should only be made after the defendant is unable to be located and served in any other way. Plaintiffs prefer not to work with publication because it is not cheap and also a court might find that it was possible to serve the defendant personally.

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3620 NE 5th Ave
Oakland Park, FL 33334


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Oakland Park, FL 33334