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 Serviceman hand in a black jacket knocks on a dark green wooden door. Anybody home

Also known as actual service, personal 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 most traditional and reliable method. So long as the process server finds and delivers the papers to the right recipient, the service will be valid. This will be the case even if the defendant refuses to take the papers or destroys them.

Substituted Service

Unfortunately, not all personal services are successful. There are times when, despite the best efforts of a process server, the defendant is unresponsive or cannot be located. When this happens, 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.