How Process Service Works

How Process Service Works


Meeting the Requirements for Service

If you are involved in a court case and need to serve the other party with documents—such as a complaint for a divorce case or motion—you may need to complete service of process (i.e. process service).

The constitution grants defendants in court cases the right to proper notification of court proceedings. Thus, when filing for divorce or filing a motion in a family law case, the plaintiff must complete process service by serving the defendant with the “process” (i.e. a copy of the original documents filed with the court). The plaintiff must also submit proof of service to the court.

The court requires you to complete the process in a specific way. As a result, there is an entire industry of companies that handle the process service for you from start to finish, but it’s still important that you know the basics of process service.

Before you serve the other party, you need to file the originals with the court. Then, you serve the other party with a copy of those filed documents along with the hearing date. Try to attempt service as soon as possible after you file the originals with the court. If the other party evades service, the process could take several weeks if not months to complete. Always keep at least one copy of these documents for your records.

If the other party is cooperative, you can complete service by mail. If the other party has an attorney, he or she might accept service on their behalf. In all other cases, however, you need to personally serve the other party. As stated above, there are many companies that focus in process service. You provide them with the documents to serve and the contact information for the defendant. They might ask for the person’s home and work address or even a picture. You will also provide the process server with a proof of service form. The process server signs this to acknowledge completed service, which you will then need to file with the court. This general process can vary if you don’t know the defendant’s address, the defendant is a non-resident or a resident of a foreign country.

Alternatively, you can have the sheriff’s office serve your papers for you, which usually costs less.

Many complications can arise during process service, especially if the defendant evades service. For this reason, you should talk to an attorney about your case before attempting service. An attorney can ensure you have filled out your papers properly and have the right documents to serve. An attorney can also help you arrange for process service through the sheriff’s office or through a process service company to ensure the most efficient service possible.


Do you have questions about process service? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can help you file papers with the court and properly serve the other party. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.


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