Alternative Methods of Service and When They Are Used
Having legal papers served in person by a private process server is not the only way that you can deliver service of process as required by the courts. In fact, there are alternative methods of service that can be used when traditional service is deemed impossible. However, these alternative methods must be approved by a judge, and they will only be allowed in specific situations.
There are many different alternative methods of service of process that the judge may be willing to agree to. Different judges are allowing different methods of service. While there is no national precedent and only a few state precedents, some judges are allowing many different types of service using technology.
The traditional alternative method of service is publication in a newspaper. In a local newspaper you must post notice of the case. The notice has to contain some very specific information, so it is a good idea to hire a lawyer to place this ad, even if you are self-representing in court. Few people actually see these ads and make it to court, however, so some judges are allowing other methods of service.
A New York judge was the first to allow service by social media. A few judges across the country are allowing service by Facebook when the individual can be found on social media but not physically. This guarantees that the individual will be notified of the case. Some judges across the nation are also allowing service by email in some cases. The state of Florida has yet to have a judge allow digital service.
Alternative service can only be used when all attempts to find and serve the papers in person have failed. You have to have a process server or sheriff attest to the fact that they are unable to take further action to locate and serve someone in a case. If the judge agrees that all reasonable measures were taken to try to serve the individual, they will likely allow for alternative service.
If you need additional help with service of process, contact us today for answers.