HOW TO SERVE LEGAL DOCUMENTS IN NEW YORK
Real Life Process Service Is Not What You See on T.V. and Films.
Process service in New York is not effected in the same manner as seen on T.V. shows and films such as "WorkUp" and "Serving Sara".
Process servers are professionals who must respect rules and must follow certain specific procedures and rules. Using tricks or "shortcuts" in order to effect service of legal documents in New York is unacceptable.
Non-traditional manners of service such as service of process by fax, service of process by text, service of process through email or through
social media are not legal manners of service in New York unless expressly ordered by the court. The main purpose of service of process is
to ascertain that all parties involved in a legal case be duly informed of the pending legal proceedings and receive the order to show cause,
notice to appear, summons, citation, court judgment, court order, court decision, subpoena or any court document intended for said individuals
or business entities.
Generally the word "process" refers to a subpoena, writ of summons, civil summons, citation, subpoena, court order, judgment, or notice to
appear. A process server is a person engaged in the activity of delivering legal process to individuals or corporations. Process serving in New
York City may be effected only by a licensed process server if the person engaged in process service serves more than five cases per year.
Process server licenses are issued by the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) for two year periods. Long Island and Upstate New York do not require process servers to be licensed.
Contrary to widely held popular beliefs wrongly promoted by newspapers, film and television, service of process must not be effected by using
deception or ruses (e.g. : Disguising yourself as a nun and serving the evasive priest who is hiding in church or announcing yourself as the pizza delivery guy in order to get the defendant to open the entrance door of his home). Another common misconception is that process servers are required to obtain the servees' signatures in order to complete service. Many defendants believe that if they do not "sign for" the papers being served, service was not effected but that is not correct.
It is common practice for certain process servers to still misrepresent who they are (or use somewhat unethical tricks) in order to effect service of
process. Regardless of how they view it, pretending to be a flower delivery person with a bouquet of roses for defendant "Jane Doe" with divorce
papers concealed under those flowers and serving her with those divorce papers at a moment when she is smiling upon seeing those flowers
beats common sense and ethical standards. It does not matter whether Jane Doe is evading those divorce papers. She should not be deceived.
Service upon said individual must be properly effected by informing her of the documents being served and by not concealing those documents.
Process servers must be truthful at all times and they must not misrepresent who they are.
Process Serving Methods Used in New York State:
Personal Service. It is the best service because the named defendant/respondent receives the court documents in hand. Most divorce
summonses and petitions, Family Court visitation petitions, custody petitions and orders of protection must be served in person.
Substituted Service. If the named defendant is not present, it is acceptable to serve process upon a person of suitable age and discretion who
resides at the defendant place of abode or who is authorized to accept process on behalf of said defendant. Matrimonial cases and Family Court
Visitation/Custody cases may not be served in this manner but Child Support petitions, landlord/tenant cases and civil summonses and
complaints may be served by using this method.
Conspicuous Place Service. If the defendant resides at the address provided but refuses to open the entrance door to his home to accept
process, in most cases, a Notice to Tenant, Demand for Payment of Rent, Notice of Petition Non-payment, Notice of Petition Holdover, Summons
and Complaint may be served upon said defendant by affixing it on the entrance door of said premises. True copies of the pleadings affixed must
be also be mailed by regular mail. In some cases both regular mail and certified mail are required to complete service. Conspicuous Place
Service, Service by Mail and Service by Publication should be regarded as forms of Substituted Service.
Service by Mail. In some cases , New York courts will only require that service of process be effected by mailing true copies of the summons
and complaint by regular mail or by certified mail or both. In some cases, postal service return receipt service is also required. This manner of
service must be expressly authorized by the court. Examples of papers served by this method are Orders to Show Cause and Small Claims
Court Notice of Claim (In New York City, the Small Claims Court usually mails the notices on your behalf).
Service by publication. As a last resort, service of process by publication is acceptable, if ordered by a judge, when personal service or
substituted service cannot be completed. For example for a defendant whose last known place of abode was in the City of New York and the
process server has attempted service at said address multiple times and issued an affidavit of attempted service (due diligence affidavit), a court
may order that the summons be published by a major newspaper which circulates in the City of New York. This manner of service is the most
expensive because publishing a summons on a New York City newspaper (Usually the court decides which newspaper you must use) may cost
you from $800-$4000.
We Are Different When Serving Papers in the City of New York.
We are forthright and follow all the rules...That makes us different from other NY process servers when serving process in New York City.
Licensed New York Process Servers
We serve your court documents in Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, and Brooklyn within 2-5 business days