Process servers play a valuable role in the legal system. Many causes of action must be physically delivered to a respondent or defendant or the action will not be considered valid. Cases are often dismissed due to improper service of process, and that is why you must be careful with how another party receives notice of your legal filing. At Shadow Process Service, LLC, we recommend you consult with an attorney on whether personal service is necessary. However, here is a general overview of the types of documents that must be served personally on an opposing party:
- Complaints: These are the beginning of a civil action. Unlike a criminal action, which is a state acting against a defendant who committed a crime or violation, civil actions address monetary damages that arise from the intentional or negligent actions of another. Breaches of contract, car accidents, defective products and medical malpractice are all examples of actions that could result in a civil complaint being filed and served. The only way these actions can proceed is if they are personally served on a defendant, and process servers in Wisconsin offer the best way to ensure that occurs. Once received, the defendant has a set amount of time to file a response or face a default judgment. If they were not served properly, the action or judgment can be dismissed.
- Petitions: Petitions are common in family law cases. A petitioner may file an action to start divorce proceedings or pursue a respondent in a child custody or support case. Other family law petitions could include petitions to terminate parental rights, enforce visitation or alert the respondent to a pending move. All of these actions must be served personally so the respondent has time to file an answer and meet deadlines relevant to their case. If they fail to answer, the petitioner receives their requested relief plus attorney fees and costs. Like with civil judgments, the court can reverse these if service was not done correctly.
- Subpoenas: These documents summon an individual to court to testify. Under most circumstances, subpoenas can be mailed to the individuals, but in cases where a subject is reluctant to testify or difficult to find, a process server in Wisconsin becomes a better option for ensuring that person is properly summoned to a court or hearing—and has no excuse to avoid testifying. This also works if an individual holds papers that are essential to a case. In this matter, the individual just has to provide the papers—not testify. If they fail to turn over that evidence willingly or otherwise avoid service, a process server can take measures to ensure the witness receives the subpoena.
- Evictions: Many landlords opt to use process servers in Wisconsin to issue evictions to tenants with delinquent rent. These proceedings are often sensitive, and with strong laws protecting tenants’ rights, personal service reduces the risk of improper procedure in evictions. Failing to complete an eviction makes the process more complex and raises legal fees. Also, a tenant who has not paid may be allowed to stay on the property longer, which gives landlords less time to find another tenant—this time, one who pays. Landlords who want to ensure tenants receive notices of eviction often take the extra step to ensure personal service of the papers.
- Foreclosures: Foreclosures are often personally served for the same reason as evictions. Many homeowners quit maintaining homes once they can no longer pay the mortgage, and that reduces the resale value of the house. Banks are more likely to take a loss when the home is sold as a fixer-upper rather than move-in ready. Personal service ensures homeowners receive notice of the foreclosure sooner, and that reduces the chance of procedural delays. That makes it more likely that the bank will preserve its interest and the value of the home.
- Forcible detainer actions: If a landlord issues an eviction and the tenant refuses to move, their next step is the forcible detainer. This action orders a tenant to leave the rental property. The same action is also used if a homeowner refuses to leave after a foreclosure. While evictions and foreclosures may often be issued via certified mail, these actions must be personally served. That is due to the time limits in these actions and any remedies the former tenant or homeowner may pursue.
- Wage garnishments: A common type of civil action is for money owed. Since these lawsuits often go unanswered, a plaintiff’s next step is to secure payment. At that point, the defendant not only owes the debt, but also legal costs and interest. A wage garnishment is often the best way to ensure payment. However, debtors still have rights in a garnishment, including the ability to oppose it or claim protections for their wages. Since there is a narrow window of time to make these claims, proper service ensures you know when the debtor received the papers. That sets deadlines for them, but also informs you of when you can start collecting money against their wages.
- Restraining orders: Petitioners filing restraining orders often prefer to have them personally served. This places notice on the respondent that they cannot go near them, and also protects the safety of the petitioner by not requiring them to affect service on their own. Personal service of restraining orders is also appropriate in more violent cases, where violations can result in jail time. It also reduces the chance of criminal penalties being removed due to improper service of the order.
Process servers in Wisconsin offer other services as well. We can file papers in court for you, or retrieve documents. Also, if someone cannot be found, we have the resources to locate them. While it may be tempting to have a friend serve divorce papers on your current spouse or the other party to the accident, that may prove ineffective or simply cost you valuable hours.
Shadow Process Service, LLC are process servers who are authorized in Wisconsin and beyond. If you need legal papers served promptly, contact us today to start the process.
Categorised in: Process Servers
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