The Difference Between Personal and Substituted Service of Process

The law provides many ways for a process server to do their job. It recognizes that not every situation will be the same, and sometimes you may not be able to find the person to serve them their documents. As such, there are two main ways to go about serving process: personal service and substituted service.

Personal In-Hand Service

Also known as actual service, personal in-hand services involve the in-person delivery of the legal documents to the defendant. This is how most process servers hope to serve papers, as it’s the strongest method. So long as the process server finds and delivers the papers to the right recipient, the service should be valid. In New York, if a recipient refuses to take the papers in-hand, the process server may drop them in front of the recipient and inform them that they are served.

Substituted Service

There are times when, despite the best efforts of a process server, the defendant is unresponsive or cannot be located. When this happens, and if the law is applicable, a process server will turn to substituted service. While different states have different rules regarding the ins and outs of substituted service, in New York State, the process server must find another individual of suitable age and discretion to serve the papers to. This could include the defendant’s spouse, work partner, etc.

No matter if it’s personal service or substituted service, you need a process server who is reliable, professional, and discrete. Reliant Court Services is just that. Contact us today at 631-567-3120 to learn more.