Can a Process Server Just Leave Papers at Your Door?

Hand holding paper

Process servers deliver court paperwork to an individual who has been summoned to court. Contrary to what everyone might believe, process servers aren’t simply messengers who deliver summons but uphold an individual’s constitutional right to due process; these summons essentially let the individuals know that they need to show up in court on a particular day.

Depending on how and where you are served, you might feel caught off guard. However, process serving is an essential part of any lawsuit to ensure that you’re given accurate details of the case. This article explains the answer to the question “can a process server leave papers at your door?”, including what a process server can or can’t do. Let’s dig in!

Who Is a Process Server?

So who is a ‘process server,’? A process server is a person employed by a lawyer to deliver legal documents to you. These documents notify you about the beginning of a lawsuit. Or it may be a document that seeks your presence in court, also known as a subpoena.

Process servers aren’t mandated to complete a course or have an exceptional education to serve legal paperwork. All they’re required to do is know and understand the laws related to serving legal documents in the state.

What Is the Procedure for Process Serving

A process server is required to serve summons according to provincial laws and regulations. While each province might constitute the numerous methods and timelines allowed for serving documents, the overall process is similar. Here are the steps that must be taken for documents to be legally served:

Step 1: Make Copies of the Paperwork Being Served

Check the copies of the paperwork against the original to ensure that they’re the same.

Step 2: Serve Paperwork

Deliver the paperwork, commonly referred to as a process, to the parties involved in the legal action.

Step 3: Take Note of Information for Proof of Service

The process server is required to record the time, date, and location that the paperwork was served and the identification that the individual being served showed.

Step 4: Complete the Proof of Service Form

An Affidavit of Service is an authentic document proving that the summons was served.

Step 5: Attach the Copies of the Documents That Were Served to the Affidavit

The process server will label each piece of paperwork separately, for instance, as an “Exhibit.” If two documents are served, they’ll be labeled as Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

Step 6: Swear to Service in the Presence of a Legal Body

The Affidavit and paperwork must then be sworn or confirmed in front of a clerk at the court, a lawyer, or a commissioner of oaths.

Step 7: Hand Over Proof of Service to Requesting Party

Provide the court or other party who required the paperwork to be served with the documents and notarized Affidavit of Service verifying that the documents have been delivered.

What Documents Can Be Served by a Process Server

A process server is usually hired to deliver legal paperwork to the other party in a legal battle. There are numerous types of legal documents that can be served.

The official court paperwork served to the person of interest is called ‘process.’ Suppose you’re wondering, can a process server just leave papers at your door? The truth is, they might leave a summon at your door if it doesn’t expose the content. Here’s a list of different types of documents served by a process server

What a Process Server Can and Can’t Do

The major duty of a process server is to deliver the legal summons; this is either to a person or party named in action to place the individual or party on notice that the legal action has occurred.

Suppose you have always wanted to ask “can a process server just leave papers at your door? Ordinarily, process servers can’t just leave papers at your door, but if they’re sure you’re home and refuse to attend to them, they’ll be forced to serve the documents by leaving them at your door.

Some documents must be served in a manner stated by governing rules; this may include serving paperwork face to face with the receiver. When this kind of service occurs, it’ll be compulsory that the receiver is found and then handed the “served” document. Here are a few of the things a process server can and can’t do:

●    Can Leave Documents Attached to Your Door

While process servers can’t enter a locked building without permission, they might leave a legal document attached outside your door if it doesn’t show the content.

In most cases, a process server will return if you aren’t home or wait for you to leave to catch you while walking down the street. If you are eluding being served, the process server might wait until you’re compelled to leave or enter the location where you’re staying.

●    Cannot Break Into Any Building

Whether a process server is carrying out their job at a place of work or a residence, breaking into any building isn’t allowed. Most process servers begin by trying to serve the individual at their home. They avoid trespassing by waiting outside a locked gate or door and avoid entering a locked building without permission.

●    Can Stake Out a Person

A process server isn’t allowed to harass or stalk you, but they can wait for you; this is usually called a stakeout, and if they wish to serve you with legal paperwork, they may wait outside of your home or business for you to leave. Another popular stakeout location is standing outside a close friend or family member’s home.

●    Cannot Leave Papers With a Minor

There are situations where process servers have no choice but to leave documents with someone who might answer the door to your home. Despite this being a great idea, they can’t leave summons with a minor.

By leaving the documents with anyone under 18 years, the concerned party isn’t considered served. You might be asking can a process server leave papers with someone else? A process server has the right to leave the documents with another adult if you are evasive and the other individual is an adult household member.

If you want to find out more, here is an article on what is a process server allowed to do to help you.

FAQs About Process Serving

How Many Times Can a Process Server Come to Your House?

There’s no limit to the number of times a process server can visit you or come to your house to serve you a summon. Every legal process server has its guidelines for how many times it will attempt to serve paperwork. In most cases, three attempts will be made at different times of the day and on different days.

Can Summons Be Left on Your Door?

Process servers can leave a summons taped outside your door, as long as it doesn’t reveal the document’s content. Each state has unique laws regarding process servers, but they must follow a few certain regulations.

Why Would a Process Server Come to My House?

The only reason why a legal process server would come to your house is to serve you a summon because someone is suing you or if you are a defendant in a legal proceeding. That could be after a disagreement with your neighbor, during a divorce, or other legal matter.

A Process Server Left a Note on My Door; Is This Legal?

A process server is supposed to ensure that the legal documents they receive are given to you face to face. However, this isn’t always necessary. If the individual serving the papers speaks to you through the door or sees you come to the door but then you return into the house, the server can leave a note or the document on the door or is even permitted to slip them under the door.

How Late Can a Process Server Come to Your Home?

Every process server has guidelines for how late they can attempt to serve documents. In most cases, attempts will be made during the daytime. Most process servers go the extra mile to deliver summons because they have to swear, in writing, that they gave them to you. Legally, this is referred to as an affidavit of service.

Bottom Line

Can a process server just leave papers at your door? Generally, They can’t leave the documents at your door, but if they have tried to deliver the documents directly to the person being sued; or have tried delivering the documents to a substitute person of suitable age and discretion at the place of business or the home of the person being sued, then the process server can tape the documents on the door of the home of the person being sued.