If you have a pending court case, you may be wondering if you can serve your own court papers in Florida. The simple answer is that most of the time you have to hire a private process server or pay the sheriff’s department to serve the papers for you. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. Here’s what you need to know about when you can serve papers in Florida.
Lawsuits, Divorce, and Child Custody
The vast majority of court cases that require service of process are lawsuits, divorces, and child custody matters. In all of these cases, Florida law requires that a process server, the sheriff, or one of the sheriff’s deputies serves the papers in your case. You cannot serve these papers yourself. The biggest reason is that these cases cannot move forward unless all parties are aware of the proceedings and the courts want to be certain that an uninterested third party can verify that service of process occurred. Continue reading
If you have a defendant or respondent in your case that is difficult to locate, you might be wondering how you can help the process server catch them to have the papers served. There are some legal regulations in Florida that dictate when and where a person can be served with court papers. Here’s what you need to know.
You cannot serve court papers on a Sunday in the state of Florida. If your respondent is only in town on Sundays or is only at home on Sundays, you could have difficulty getting them served. It is important to do what you can to find other days of the week where they can be found to be served.
Is your respondent currently away at college, maintaining a second home in another state, or otherwise only in your local area on holidays? You may have a hard time getting them served in the normal fashion. Florida law also prohibits service of process on holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. Any national holiday is forbidden for service of process. Continue reading
An important part of nearly any court case involving another individual or company is process service. The courts require that parties to court cases are notified in writing of the action and that they are given a chance to respond. If you are unfamiliar with this process, it is important that you have a good process server to assist you. Here’s what to look for in a process server so that there are no delays in your case.
No process server can have a 100 percent success rate. Sometimes people cannot be found to be served. However, it is important that your process server does have a very high rate of success. A success rate of 90 percent or higher is ideal. This ensures that you are hiring a process server that will do everything in their power to get your papers served, and as quickly as possible. Continue reading
When you have a court case on your plate, you need to know that everything is going to go as smoothly as possible. You want to make sure that your papers are served quickly and accurately so your case is not held up in court for lack of service. Some private process servers engage in gutter serves, which can delay your case or even cause it to be dismissed. Learn what gutter serves are and how to avoid them.
What is a Gutter Serve?
Gutter serves happen when a process server trashes the papers that they have to serve, but they record that they executed service. They are called gutter serves because the papers end up “in the gutter,” so to speak. Gutter serves are illegal, and private process servers who are caught doing gutter serves can be removed from the certified list of private process servers with the courts. Even though the courts attempt to ensure that process servers are trained and certified, there is no guarantee that gutter serves won’t happen. Continue reading
If you are a new landlord coping with bad tenants or tenants who are not paying their rent, you may find yourself needing to know how to serve eviction papers in Florida. Florida has specific laws about how and why a tenant can be removed from the premises. It is important that you understand how service of eviction papers works, possible defenses by the tenants, and how to avoid obstacles.
The First Step
The first step in eviction is to serve the tenant with either a 3-day or 7-day notice. A 3-day notice is given for nonpayment of rent. A 7-day notice is given if they are breaking the terms of the lease in another way. With a 3-day notice, the tenant must vacate the property within 3 business days, not counting the day of service. With a 7-day notice, the tenant must remedy the terms of the lease or vacate the property in 7 business days.
While these forms are readily available online and can be served by anyone, it is a good idea to have these papers served by a private process server. These initial notices can be mailed via certified mail, left with any adult tenant, or posted to the door. It is important that whoever serves the notice makes record of how and when the notice was served.
One common defense to evictions is that the tenant claims to have never received the initial notice. This is why it is a good idea to use a private process server. They can certify that the notice was served in an appropriate manner. Continue reading