Dispute logo



Defendant Service

Everything You Need To Know About Service of Process

Updated June 29th 2022

4 min read

One of the first things to do when filing is to notify the other party. Each state has their own process. To alert the other party, a process server is needed.

Everything You Need To Know About Service of Process

Everything You Need To Know About Service of Process


Allaire W


Dispute is the easiest & most accurate small claims platform with affordable ways to resolve every dispute.

Many people file small claims paperwork themselves. Others use an online service. This process has multiple layers. One of the first things to do when filing is to notify the other party. Each state has their own process. To alert the other party, a process server is needed.

A process server can be a friend, relative, or coworker. They can also be professional process server. In most cases, the process server is the sheriff or marshal. Process servers can locate individuals that may be hard to find. They are also trained to deal with difficult situations. They file a proof of service form after the service of process with the courts. This is verification that the other party received the documents.

The proof of service form indicates who was served, when, where, how, and what time. The petitioner in the case cannot serve their own papers.

What is Service of Process?

The law requires defendants in a lawsuit to be notified that action has been taken against them. The documents contain the court, plaintiff, and the time the defendant must respond within. The papers are delivered through a process server.

Process servers are often used to deliver lawsuits filed in small claims court. They are certified by the court to deliver the paperwork legally. The date the notice was given must be recorded. This establishes the timeline for when the other party must respond.

Service of Process Definition

Due Process clauses require a defendant to have adequate notice of the action taken against them. Service of process is the formal delivery of a summons, pleading, court papers, or legal documents to opposing defendants or attorneys. A lawsuit cannot move forward without service of process.

Service of Process: The Hague Convention

There are instances where a lawsuit must be filed against someone in another country. The Hague Convention is a treaty between 65 countries and counting. It assists in the service of process without diplomatic or consular channels. This helps reduce the time needed to enforce legal proceedings to only three to six months.

Service Process Agents

Service of process agents may also be known as registered agents. This is an appointed representative where legal documents can be served. They receive these documents and lawsuits on behalf of the defendant. They also deliver court papers on behalf of the appointed parties.

A process server must be at least 18 years of age and cannot have a felony conviction in California. They must not be a party to the legal proceedings. They must also register with the County Clerk in their residential county.

Registration as a process server may require an in-person appearance. Here are a few things that are required:

  1. An application form and fingerprints
  2. A valid photo I.D.
  3. A process server bond. The amount of the bond varies per city.
  4. Paid Fees

A registration certificate is valid for two years or until the bond expires. Most renewals can be done 60 days before the expiration date.

How much does service of process cost?

Each state has different standard rates. In California, rates may vary based on the required process service. Standard rates for service of process can range from $85 to $185. If the complaint needs rush delivery or investigation, the rates are on the higher end.

How to find a process server for small claims court?

Depending on where the lawsuit is filed, the court may forward the papers to a process server. This requires an additional fee added to the cost of the complaint. In other instances, you can search the phone book or internet.

The small claims court clerk should have a list of process servers to assist. If working with an attorney, they have certain process servers they use.

What’s the difference between a process server and service of process?

The process server is the person delivering the legal documents. The service of process is the act of delivering the notice of a pending lawsuit.

Serve the other party with Dispute today. Get back the money you deserve.

Related articles

How to Use Dispute to Serve My Defendant?

Dispute can help connect you with a process server to serve your small claims documents.

· 3 min read