How to Serve Someone Outside of Your State
If you need to serve someone or a company a lawsuit outside of your state, it is important to know how to do that properly. Service outside of the plaintiff’s state is more frequent than you may realize. Process servers estimate that up to 25% of their service requests originate from out of state. While out-of-state service requires a bit more work on the end of the service processor, having the company or individual served is completely possible. Below are some basic details regarding how out-of-state service works.
Before Getting Started
First, you need to ensure that service can be legally attempted and effectuated out of state. Depending on the type of case, you may be required to file in the state in which the defendant lives or resides. If you are not sure as to the proper way to file your lawsuit, consult with an experienced attorney.
Second, you need to find a processor to carry out service on a corporation or individual who is domiciled out of state. It is crucial to understand that each state, and even each county within the state, has its own rules regarding the civil process of service. Some cases require a plaintiff to seek permission from a governing body or the sheriff’s office prior to serving the papers. Some places may require attempts via certified mail prior to engaging a process server.
Third, it is crucial to know whether or not personal service is mandated, if the legal documents can be posted, or if service can happen to a substitute party. The rules may also require you to file the original stamped documents or electronically. Aside from these general rules, the specific court may have particular documents that must be used.
What constitutes effective and legal service is dependent upon three key issues:
● The type of lawsuit;
● Where the lawsuit was originally filed; and
● The state in which the documents must be served.
Some General Process Rules
Below is a simple list that outlines states that forbid service of process on Sundays or holidays:
● Florida: no service on Sunday
● Maine: no service on Sunday
● Massachusetts: no service on Sunday
● Minnesota: no service on Sundays and Holidays
● New York: no service on Sunday or upon a person who keeps Saturday holy
● Rhode Island: no service on Sunday
● South Dakota: no service on Sunday
● Tennessee: no service on Sunday, except when by Court Order
● Texas: certain restrictions for service on Sunday, depending on the documents
● Virginia: no service on Sunday
● West Virginia: no service on Sunday
For more information on specific requirements for serving lawsuits in a particular state, visit the
Rules of Civil Procedure by State. In addition to doing so, check with the court in which the legal
documents were filed to research if there are any specific requirements of which you are
Service of Process Support
If you need to serve a lawsuit on an out-of-state defendant, or simply need litigation support,
contact Ancillary Legal today. Our team has vast experience with providing full-service legal
support domestically and internationally, including service of process.