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How the Courts Know Your Legal Papers Were Served Accurately

No matter how good a person you are, everyone tries to cut corners when possible. Whether you’re trying to save time or money, you might be tempted to try to serve legal papers yourself or not have them served at all. After all, how will the courts know? In truth, the courts usually know if papers have been served accurately, even if it requires an inquiry.

Service of Process

When you have any type of civil legal matter, you have to have the petition or complaint served to the other party or parties in the case in order for your case to move forward in the courts. This is called service of process. In the state of Florida, only court registered private process servers or sheriff’s deputies can legally serve papers, unless you have a minor civil matter that allows for service by certified mail (such as small claims).

When Papers Are Served

Papers can be served almost anywhere and almost any time except Sundays. The process server or sheriff will hand deliver the papers to the intended individual, unless the specific situation allows for other service (such as posting on the door). They may need to identify the individual by asking for a state ID or by comparing the individual to a picture that they have in their paperwork. 

After the papers have been served, a copy of the papers is signed by the process server and then filed with the courts. This affidavit of service is your proof that you followed court procedure so that your case can move forward to the next phase.


If the other party or parties claim that they weren’t served, you may have to prove that they were before your case can continue to progress. Courts can look back at their records to see if a process server or sheriff filed the proof of service. If they did not, you may need to get their testimony as a witness to show the courts that you made the attempt to follow court procedure. 

If you tried to deliver the papers yourself, got someone to do it who was not registered with the courts, or failed to serve the papers at all, this will all come out during a hearing with the judge. You could be fined or face other consequences, and your case could be dismissed.

If you are needing legal papers served, contact us today to get started.