What does “Service” or “Service of Process” mean?
You may hear the terms “service” or “service of process” in your divorce, custody, support, or other family law matter. In fact, both terms are used frequently (and interchangeably) in most areas of the law. “Service” generally refers to the receipt of a pleading (such as a complaint) or other legal document by a party or someone who is otherwise involved in the case (such as a witness or a guardian ad litem).
“Good service” means that the intended recipient received the document in the proper way. There are specific rules as to how documents must be served (which may vary depending upon the type of document that is being served). For example, a divorce complaint cannot be served upon one spouse by the other spouse. Some documents may be served by mail, which may be required to be sent through restricted delivery (i.e. only permitted to be accepted by the addressee).
Sometimes, documents must be served within a certain timeframe. A divorce complaint, for example, generally must be served within 30 days of filing the Complaint. Oftentimes, it is necessary to prove that an individual was served, especially if that individual does not respond in any way to the documents that were served upon them. For example, it is often necessary to prove that a party was served if they do not appear in court for a scheduled hearing, or if they do not respond to a divorce pleading.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic or you have a specific question regarding service in your case, contact Tanner Law Offices at (717) 731-8114 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.