When someone files a lawsuit, the other parties don’t receive notice of the lawsuit automatically. A process server must serve them with the complaint papers so the lawsuit process can truly begin.

Many would-be defendants take various steps to avoid process servers. However, process servers can go to significant lengths to track them down and serve the papers. That said, there often is some degree of confusion regarding what a process server can and can’t do.

You Can’t Avoid a Lawsuit by Avoiding a Process Server

That a process server may not be able to find the target of a lawsuit doesn’t mean that individual or party is off the hook. First, courts tend to be familiar with the common ways targets of lawsuits try to avoid process servers. It’s unlikely someone could avoid a process server forever.

Additionally, courts have other options when individuals manage to avoid service for a considerable amount of time. One example is substituted service. This may involve mailing the papers, leaving them at a person’s home, or leaving them with someone who knows the target of a lawsuit to deliver to them.

Process Servers Can Use Creative Tactics

Process servers can’t engage in tactics that would constitute harassment. However, they can exercise some degree of creativity when someone tries to evade them. For example, they can simply wait outside someone’s home and approach them when they go out.

Process Servers Can Give Papers to Someone Else

Again, one option when a process server is unable to serve someone is to leave them with another party. This must be an individual over the age of 18 who is able to understand why delivering the papers is important.

For example, a process server who knows where someone lives but is struggling to catch them at the right time might give papers to their spouse at home. That said, they walk a fine line when engaging in this tactic. It may constitute harassment or another form of unethical behavior if they violate someone’s privacy by leaving papers with an improper party.

Process Servers Can’t Check Your Mailbox

Some are under the false impression that process servers can go through the mailboxes of their targets to confirm they’ve received the papers being sent to them.

This is typically not permitted. That said, the laws vary somewhat from one state to another on this particular issue.

Process Servers Can’t Pretend to Be Other People

Another myth about process servers is that they can put on costumes to deceive the individuals they are serving. For instance, a process server can’t knock on the door of someone and claim to be the police as a way of getting them to open up. They must always be honest about who they are and what they’re doing when they approach someone.

Process Servers Can’t Break the Law

Process servers must operate within the law. They certainly can’t break into someone’s home to leave papers there. They can’t trespass either. However, they can often wait outside someone’s home as long as they are not trespassing on their property.

You don’t need to worry about someone avoiding a process server if you’re suing them. While they may be able to avoid a process server for a limited period of time, eventually courts will resort to other methods, such as issuing default judgments.

This can also apply in family law cases. For example, maybe a soon-to-be ex-spouse is trying to avoid signing divorce papers. Rest assured, courts have effective ways of addressing this type of situation. They may not always involve using process servers, but they can ensure you get the results you want.

For more information, call our family law firm at (404) 594-2143 or reach out to us online by visiting our contact us page today.