Lawsuits aren’t fun for a plaintiff or a defendant, but things get even more stressful when you encounter difficulty delivering legal documents. You might be dealing with somebody who is intentionally dodging your efforts or perhaps you simply don’t know where to find them. Regardless of the cause of the problem, outsourcing this part of the process can expedite the legal process. When it comes to serving somebody, though, when and where is it permissible to do so?

Consider Individual State Laws

Every state has unique laws governing the conditions under which a person may be served legal papers. Typically these papers will need to be served in the same state that the lawsuit has been filed in. There are some exceptions to this rule—usually if the suit involves property in another state, or if it involves a car accident. Other than these unique situations, you can expect to serve papers in the state the suit is in.

Determine an Acceptable Location

Though you are likely bound to the state of the suit, you have several options for location within that state. You should consider which location will be the safest and most accessible, and if you are at all worried about serving your defendant directly, hiring a professional process server may be necessary. Some of the places you or a server may deliver papers include:

  • Workplace
  • Place of frequent visit
  • Personal residence

Consider the Best Time to Serve

Now you know where to serve papers, but it’s also important to consider when to serve, too. Every state has a unique deadline for serving legal documents, but most mandate that papers must be served at least eight days prior to the scheduled court date. Sometimes papers must be served as early as 30 days before court. It is important to determine the deadline so you have time to recruit a professional server.